Mick ‘couldn’t just disappear’ in Max v Lewis battle

Date published: October 25 2021 - Jon Wilde

Max Verstappen's Red Bull alongside Mick Schumacher's Haas. Hungaroring August 2021.

Mick Schumacher has explained his perspective of how he nearly influenced who emerged triumphant from the United States Grand Prix.

In the closing laps, as Lewis Hamilton on fresher tyres hunted down leader Max Verstappen, the duo homed in on Schumacher to lap him for the second time.

Putting a lap on a backmarker is always a variable and an anxious moment for a front-runner, and getting past the Haas did not prove entirely straightforward for Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver lost a bit of time in doing so with Hamilton breathing down his neck. But there was payback as the Dutchman was within a second of Schumacher in a DRS activation zone and thus got a priceless straight-line speed boost down the straight on the last lap.

Verstappen hung on to win by 1.333sec and extended his World Championship lead to 12 points with five races remaining. Had Hamilton passed him, he would have been two behind.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Schumacher had “nearly given him a heart attack” with the amount of time he took to react to the blue flags, but Verstappen defended the German as he had not been catching him as quickly as he might have due to his own tyres going off.

Schumacher told Sky F1 in the Austin paddock: “The fact is I can’t just disappear.

“I’m on the track too and I have my own race. I was trying to be the least complicated, let’s say, the least annoying for Max, and I think the fact he got DRS through me kind of equalled that out a bit.

“Anybody in that situation couldn’t do anything else. It’s racing.”

Due to engine penalties incurred by three drivers that started behind him, Schumacher lined up 16th on the grid and finished in the same position, with he and his team-mate Nikita Mazepin (17th) the only duo lapped twice.

 

On his race overall, Schumacher added: “I have to say the race was fun. I enjoyed it and I had some tight battles, especially at the start when I was right in the mix – that was good fun.

“I think all those things prepare me more for next year.

“We were catching up to [Nicholas] Latifi in the last few laps and I think with five more laps we probably would have been close enough to make a move.

“I really enjoy being in the States and the fans are great spectators. I’ve loved racing in front of them.”