The German rookie set an impressive time in his backmarking Haas that was good enough for a provisional P14 grid slot during the first qualifying session.
But for the third race in a row, a red flag ended a session prematurely – with Schumacher being the one to bring the close of Q1 after taking a hefty whack against the wall on the exit of Turn 6 at Paul Ricard.
There was not enough time for drivers behind to set another flying lap after the session was stopped, which may have been a partial factor in the Haas driver making it through to Q2 – with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda also crashing out of the session and Lance Stroll seeing his one flying lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.
Despite the team saying before the start of the season that their entire focus is on developing their 2022 car instead of upgrading their current challenger, Schumacher is pleased with the signs of progress in the team and feels the team’s effort is beginning to pay dividends.
“What exactly happened? I guess I just pushed a bit too hard going into the corner, that kicked out the rear,” Schumacher said about his crash after qualifying.
“Obviously the cars are very wind affected, maybe in a way that would have triggered extra oversteer.
“Nonetheless, we’ve managed to go into our first Q2 this year, so things brighten up and I think we can hopefully get more of those days in the future.
“There is damage to the car, yes, but how great? I don’t know. If the gearbox is damaged, then we’ll obviously have a problem.
“But if everything’s okay we’ll start from there and it is on paper, that for me is what matters.
“In the race, I can do other stuff. I’m optimistic and we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The team is getting more motivated every day, I am more motivated every day and those results today prove that our hard work is growing.”
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