Schumacher surprised by recognition from rivals

Jon Wilde
Mick Schumacher in a group with George Russell and Pierre Gasly. Silverstone July 2021.

Mick Schumacher standing in a group with George Russell and Pierre Gasly at the 2022 car prototype launch. Silverstone July 2021.

Mick Schumacher has expressed surprise that he was named in the top 10 drivers of 2021 by his Formula 1 peers.

The German was among a trio of F2 racers who stepped up to the elite category for last season. Schumacher, holder of the second-tier title, was joined at Haas by Nikita Mazepin, while Yuki Tsunoda was installed at AlphaTauri.

Tsunoda was the only one of the three to score points because Haas did not develop their car through the season. But Schumacher was the sole rookie to make the top 10 when the drivers voted for their stars of the campaign.

The son of Michael Schumacher, the seven-time former World Champion, only just squeezed into the top half of the 20 racers on the grid in this particular popularity contest, which was topped by Max Verstappen ahead of the man he pipped to the title, Lewis Hamilton, with Lando Norris in third.

Ranked 10th, ahead of the likes of Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo, Schumacher said he had not expected to be in such a lofty position.

“It was definitely nice and I was very happy about it,” said the 22-year-old during an interview with Sky Germany.

“To be honest, I did not expect it. It gives me a boost for this year too, to show it hopefully with a faster car.”

Mick Schumacher just ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the Russian GP. Sochi September 2021.
Mick Schumacher's Haas just ahead of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes at the Russian Grand Prix. Sochi September 2021.

Haas made the decision in 2021 not to upgrade their car in order to put full development focus on their all-new challenger for 2022 – and team principal Guenther Steiner is hopeful they will not only score points this time around but also find themselves back in the midfield.

That is the aim too for Schumacher, who at selected races will also serve as Ferrari’s reserve driver should Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz be ruled out for any reason.

“My goal this year is to be as far ahead as possible with Haas,” said Schumacher, whose best result in 2021 was a 12th-place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“What happens in the future, we will see. Obviously it also depends on what happens this year with Haas. If I do well, hopefully it will go in the right direction next year.”

 

More immediately, Schumacher is taking part in the Race of Champions event in Sweden this coming weekend, partnering Sebastian Vettel for Germany against a host of top drivers from a variety of categories – including Valtteri Bottas, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard of the F1 fraternity.

“We are both very excited,” said Schumacher. “Seb goes into the event without any practice. I will do the practice and let’s see if it will pay off. But I think the main thing is to have fun.”

 

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