Ralf calls out veteran drivers: ‘You’ve not arrived yet’

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo Sergio Perez

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Sergio Perez, Red Bull

Ralf Schumacher has called out Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez, saying they are yet to step up for their new teams.

Ferrari’s announcement that Vettel would leave at the end of 2020, before that season had even started, triggered silly season into early action with Daniel Ricciardo confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2021 not long after, since Carlos Sainz had been chosen as Vettel’s replacement.

Another high-profile driver switch came at Red Bull as they demoted Alex Albon to test and reserve duties for 2021, freeing up a seat for Sergio Perez.

However, we are two races in to the 2021 season and that trio have yet to deliver a performance matching the expectation.

And Schumacher was clear that the time has come for Ricciardo, Vettel and Perez to truly “arrive”.

“Sebastian Vettel drove in the middle of nowhere. Brake failure, time penalty, gearbox failure – the unlucky lady was particularly busy again,” Schumacher told Sky F1.

“That’s why it’s difficult to assess his performance on Sunday. He doesn’t want any sympathy, he told us that right after the race when we interviewed him, but somehow a lot reminds us of his last Ferrari year, only everything in green.

“Sebastian now has to catch up in the next one or two races, catch up with his team-mate, better overtake him.

“The experienced drivers in their new teams: Vettel, Perez, Ricciardo. They have not yet arrived, they are not yet at one with the car.

It’s a question of time’ say their bosses, this kind of patience didn’t exist in the past. Of course we had more test drives, but if the results weren’t there quickly, we were counted out.”

Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher calls driving at the back "a kind of torture".

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For Ralf’s nephew Mick Schumacher it was another weekend spent at the back with Haas, capped off by a difficult race around Imola which saw him spin the VF-21 into the wall behind the Safety Car.

Fortunately he could continue with only the front wing broken, but the closed pit lane forced a delay to the repair job.

“Things are moving forward for Mick,” said Ralf.

“Sure, he misjudged when warming up the tyres, turned into the wall and demolished his nose in the process – that was embarrassing for him. But such an action is part of the game and won’t happen to him again.

“The bottom line is that he had his team-mate safely under control. He was clearly faster than Mazepin – in qualifying and in the race. He is doing very well in his first year of training.”

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