Despite mainly racing at the back of the field so far, Mick Schumacher has shown Damon Hill he is a “feisty” Formula 1 driver.
For the most part, the son of Michael Schumacher, the seven-time former World Champion, has been limited to on-track battles with his team-mate Nikita Mazepin due to their Haas cars being decidedly the slowest on the grid.
Some of those tussles have had their moments, but it was Schumacher’s defiance against a car at the other end of the competitive scale, Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, in the Hungarian Grand Prix that impressed Hill.
The chaos of the first few laps on a rain-dampened circuit left the 22-year-old German surprisingly fighting for position with Verstappen, whose car had been damaged in a first-corner incident triggered by Valtteri Bottas misjudging his braking.
“Bit of a feisty driver is Mick, banging wheels with Max,” said the 1996 World Champion on the F1 Nation podcast.
“Max gave him a bit of a biff coming out of Turn 3, moved over on him, and he’d [Verstappen] already lost his bargeboard on the right-hand side.
“Then he kind of gave Mick a bit of a nudge going into Turn 4, but Mick was putting up a very strong defence.
“With George Russell, I thought his move around the outside of Mick was incredibly brave. He gave no quarter at all. He [Mick] might be in a slower car but he’s determined to fight, so we’ll be keen to see how he develops.”
Torquing Point - Backmarker battle
Finley Crebolder and Charlotte Lines from Planet F1's Torquing Point podcast discuss the backmarker battle between Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas.
They will hope the American-owned team can provide a more competitive car for 2022 when the new regulations kick in, with a view to Schumacher eventually racing much nearer the front in future seasons for whichever team he finds himself with.
Hill thinks the son of his former arch-rival is showing enough to suggest he will be capable of doing that in time.
“They say in acting there’s no small parts, only small actors, so if you’re in a team that’s not at the front, it’s still an opportunity,” said the Briton.
“I can’t say I’m not impressed by Mick. I think he’s showing his strength and I think he’s showing ability.
“I think he’s also showing he’s a bit of a fighter, so it will be good to see him in a more competitive car in the future.”