Haas’ Guenther Steiner has warned against increasing the pressure on Mick Schumacher after he scored his first points.
The young German driver scored his first Formula 1 points in Sunday’s British Grand Prix, crossing the line to finish in eighth place as he battled with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen’s ailing Red Bull in the closing stages of the race.
It has been a long time coming for Schumacher after a reasonably pressure-free first season in a Haas that was clearly off the pace at the back of the grid.
Teamed up with Kevin Magnussen for 2022, the rules reset means there is now pressure on Schumacher to start performing as Magnussen has claimed several points finishes – pressure that Schumacher appeared to be crumbling under after hefty crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco, as well as a disastrous late-race attempt to overtake Sebastian Vettel in Miami.
But having appeared to take a step forward last time out in Canada, only to retire due to a power unit problem, Schumacher picked up where he left off for the British Grand Prix and stormed home in eighth place after a competitive race throughout – earning himself four points in the process.
“We are really happy,” Schumacher said after the race.
“Coming back from P19, I said we have the speed to go forwards and we definitely showed it today.”
Having come off a bad run of races in which Haas went without a point, team boss Guenther Steiner was delighted to finally right some recent wrongs.
“I mean the team more than anyone else because we were always very close and never got it the last four or five races,” he told Sky F1 when asked about Schumacher’s race.
“So this is like a breather because it didn’t seem to go our way in qualifying but today the car was fast.
“We could fight and it’s also good for Mick. We almost couldn’t believe it what happened today, so this is really nice for everybody. For Mick, at least, some of the pressure hopefully goes away and he can drive free.”
With Schumacher embroiled in a tense battle with Verstappen towards the chequered flag, the Haas driver appeared to have the quicker car as he fought to get past the wily Dutch driver. Ultimately losing out to Verstappen, Steiner said he had kept his fingers crossed Schumacher’s run did not end in carnage.
“I was just hoping it didn’t end up in a mess because [of] the luck we’ve got at the moment,” he said.
“I think they got very close to, not a mess, but they got close to wheel-to-wheel.”
With Schumacher finally off the mark after such a difficult run, earning himself a congratulatory handshake from his father’s fiercest title rival, Mika Hakkinen, Steiner said he is hopeful the weight of expectation now does not overwhelm Schumacher going forward.
“I hope so. It’s a confidence thing,” he said when asked if the floodgates for points had now opened.
“But now we need to be careful the pressure doesn’t get hyped up again that everyone thinks ‘now the floodgates are open, now you need to make points every time’ and then the first or second time he doesn’t make points, it’s again ‘oh, he’s doing badly’.
“It’s very difficult to manage how people perceive it, how it should be. It’s always should have, could have. He needs to stay calm, but I told him ‘just stay calm, it will come, stay calm, keep going and ignore the outside world’.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) July 3, 2022
Highlights from the British Grand Prix
Put simply, it was a quite remarkable British Grand Prix on Sunday.