Mick Schumacher declared George Russell had “killed” his chances of a points finish in Singapore, the Briton creating a “lose-lose situation for both of us”.
Running just outside the top 10 in what was proving to be a race of attrition on a wet Marina Bay circuit, Russell and Schumacher almost had their names added to the casualty list when they collided at Turn 1.
Russell, frustrated at being stuck behind the German – “Schumacher’s defending like it’s the race of his life, crikey” – tried to outbrake him into the corner.
That put him on the wet part of the track with the Mercedes driver keen to get back onto the dry line, only Schumacher was there.
Russell connected with the Haas, both drivers forced into the pits with punctures.
“Unfortunately, contact with George killed our race,” Schumacher said. “It was just the wrong place to try it, it was a bit too risky.
“I understand him because he wants to get up front and of course he’s a good bit faster than us.
“But we are all racing for points and positions, so everyone is fighting for their own race.
“I occupied the dry line and he crashed into me. Unfortunately, it’s a lose-lose situation for both of us which cost us points.”
Schumacher finished P13 to Russell’s 14th, Haas taking to social media to say “no, George, no, that is so not right”.
The Briton, however, defended his actions.
“You have to be very daring in these conditions. And without DRS and on a track like this, these Formula 1 cars are almost impossible to overtake,” said Russell, quoted by motorsport-total.com.
— Best of Mick Schumacher (@schumacherfiles) October 2, 2022
Pundits, though, believe the Mercedes driver was in the wrong.
“Russell says Mick would have had plenty of room to avoid it but it only had one dry line, so the metre to the white line doesn’t count because it was wet there,” Alex Wurz told ORF.
“For me, Russell is clearly to blame for that.”
Ralf Schumacher agreed, telling Sky Germany: “Mick couldn’t help it at all.”
But George, for Mick Schumacher it is the race of his life
What George Russell failed to understand on Sunday is that Mick Schumacher is indeed in “the race of his life”, he is racing for his Formula 1 future.
So for the Haas driver to see a top-10 up the road, he will not roll over and hand the position, even P13, over to anyone as the next big incident could have easily put him in the top 10.
On a day when F1 saw two Safety Car periods and three Virtual Safety Cars, that was not inconceivable.
Unfortunately for Schumacher, it did not happen and he was the penultimate runner of 14. The only consolation is his team-mate Kevin Magnussen did not score, the Dane also a victim of contact when tagged by Max Verstappen on the opening lap.
Schumacher now has five races to score points, the list of the German’s rivals for the 2023 Haas seat reportedly whittled down to just one – Nico Hulkenberg.
Guenther Steiner is basically weighing up two years on the grid versus nine years on but three years off. He will let us know when he knows.
But for now, as Schumacher put it when told of Russell’s criticism, in his “situation, we have to fight as if it were for the championship”… or a 2023 race seat.