Steiner spotted a change in Mick before recent surge

Jon Wilde
Guenther Steiner shares a joke with Mick Schumacher. Silverstone July 2022.

Guenther Steiner shares a joke with Mick Schumacher on the pit wall. Silverstone July 2022.

Guenther Steiner says he has noticed a recent change in Mick Schumacher, resulting in the Haas driver making a major step forward.

Gone are the times when we needed to add up the number of F1 races in which Schumacher had failed to score his first points, that stat now well and truly consigned to history.

The German driver finally threw the monkey off his back at the British Grand Prix by crossing the line eighth and, like buses, another points finish came along immediately afterwards as he claimed a superb sixth position in Austria and was voted Driver of the Day.

Indeed, it could even have been three in a row but for Schumacher having to retire from the Canadian Grand Prix in June while running in the top 10.

Montreal was the venue where Steiner, the Haas team principal, first spotted a difference in the 23-year-old, who was coming under increasing pressure having been outshone by colleague Kevin Magnussen in the first eight races – amid reports of tension building between Schumacher and his boss.

“I don’t know if there was ever such a moment of breaking the knot,” Steiner told F1-Insider. “Sometimes you just have to get used to the car and the pressure.

“I already noticed in Canada that Mick seemed much more relaxed. Maybe he was trying to force it before and now the puzzle pieces are just falling into place. At any rate, Mick is on a roll at the moment.”

Haas have now had two consecutive double points finishes – the one at Silverstone being their first for nearly three years.

“I’m very happy for the team,” added Steiner. “There were people who tried to drive a wedge between us, but we win and lose together.

“Mick is part of the team and has to perform as part of it. He is learning a lot right now and that will help him for the rest of his career and bring success.”

From being a permanent backmarker last season, Schumacher is now able to enjoy his status at the top of the midfield fight when Haas are performing to their best – and that means keeping some exalted company on track.

During the Austrian Grand Prix, he passed Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.

“Those were absolutely good manoeuvres,” added Steiner. “He learned a lot from his battle with Max Verstappen at Silverstone and has already put that into practice.

“Now again, he drove a great race in Austria – he defended strongly and attacked.”

The floodgates open for Mick Schumacher

One points finish was then followed by a first top-six finish in F1 for Mick Schumacher.