Going wheel-to-wheel with Max Verstappen was one of the stand-out moments for Mick Schumacher in his rookie F1 season for Haas.
Competing in the under-developed VF-21, Schumacher was rarely able to go further than troubling the backend of the lower midfield, but at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix his chance came to fight with some of the big hitters.
After suffering heavy damage at the start, Verstappen found himself dropping into the midfield, unable to make much progress from there, while several other incidents occurred on that opening lap with the race then red-flagged.
Rain had complicated matters, with only Lewis Hamilton not pitting for slick tyres on the formation lap back to the grid, dropping him to last when he did stop.
All of those factors came together to put Schumacher in the top 10 for a time, and despite dropping back as the race stabilised he made sure to put up a fight, the fiercest coming against Verstappen.
Of course, the damage to his Red Bull did not help Verstappen, but the experience of battling the driver who went on to become World Champion was of course an experience to remember for Schumacher in his first year of F1 racing.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 26, 2021
Speaking about that scrap as part of his 2021 season highlights during a video from Haas, Schumacher said: “Battling with Max was obviously one of our highlights, definitely one of my biggest highlights of the season.
“We had a good race, good start, we were fighting in the top 10 for some time and had our best finish of the season there in P12, so just outside the points and I think there wasn’t much missing for us maybe to do the step into the points.
“But we will have more chances.”
That said, another experience of Schumacher’s rookie season which matched that one, or perhaps bettered it, was making Q2 at the Turkish Grand Prix where he went on to secure P14 on the grid.
Schumacher felt Turkey was a “big highlight” because of how Haas as a team nailed everything to bring together that fantastic result.
“I think Turkey was one of the big highlights for me – getting into Q2 on merit was something very special,” he said.
“We were quick from the beginning there, we managed to do the right changes, we made the right calls in terms of when to go out, and the car felt amazing and the team did a mega job in getting me out in the right spot, giving me the right information.
“And just as teamwork, getting the car as we wanted it to [be] on the track was quite special.
“We had a few good races since then, but I think that one was definitely one of our highlights this year.”