Formula 1: Are we witnessing the emergence of Mick Schumacher? -Olivier Larue

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Before we begin, let’s agree on one thing. Yes, it’s only two races, and of course two races are a long way from one race. Having said that, I’m sure I’m not the only one enjoying and rejoicing at Mick Schumacher’s recent results? No? perfect So we don’t sink from our pleasure.

Especially since we’ve been waiting for this breakout from the Haas driver for a long time. Last year, he had done what he could with a car that was by far the worst on the grid. He had dominated his teammate, Nikita Mazepin. It is true that the results were not brilliant, and above all, that Mazepin’s reference was not the best, but all this, Schumacher could not do anything. His mandate was to gain experience and beat Mazepin, which he did.

On the other hand, we knew that the 2022 season would be a much bigger challenge for the German. The Haas car is now capable of fighting for points. Good news for Mick, of course, but it can quickly turn into a poisoned gift… because with a good car comes more expectations.

In addition, he found himself alongside a much more experienced team-mate in Kevin Magnussen, a reference that would reveal much more about his performance than alongside Mazepin.

Precisely, this comparison hurt Schumacher at the beginning of the season. While his teammate was scoring points in three of the first four races of the season, he couldn’t get his counter to work. Above all, the violent outings in Saudi Arabia and Monaco irritated boss Guenther Steiner, aware of the limited budget of the American team. Add to that a contact in the final laps with Sebastian Vettel in Miami, when he was already in a position to score his first points…slowly the pressure was starting to mount on the 23-year-old driver.

In fact, it was in Montreal that Schumacher’s season began to take a different direction. In the rain, he got the best result of his young career with a sixth place in the classification. Unfortunately for him, a mechanical problem forced him to retire at the age of 19e lap, possibly depriving him of his first points in Formula 1.

It was just a postponement. Two weeks later, it was in front of his mother Corinna and sister Gina that Schumacher scored his famous first points. Game of the 19the place, he took advantage of the crash at the start to gain a few places, but his pace on the track allowed him to move up to eighth, finishing mostly ahead of his team-mate.

Then in Austria, the son of Michael looked confident all weekend with seventh in qualifying, ninth in the sprint and sixth in the race.

But it’s not just the results. There is also the path. And that’s what’s interesting about Schumacher’s recent races. He did it by battling with some of the best board riders. At Silverstone, his battle with Max Verstappen in the closing laps was impressive. Verstappen obviously had to deal with a damaged car. But the truth is that Schumi fought with confidence and determination. Above all, he found the balance between the aggression needed to battle Verstappen, forcing the Red Bull driver to test the limits of the circuit (and the rulebook), and the intelligence not to overdo it and wasting much needed points.

In Austria he also had to win on the track in tough battles, especially with Lewis Hamilton, but also against his teammate. When you manage to fight for positions on the track, push to the max without exaggerating, it’s a sign that you feel more and more comfortable and safe in the car. It is also a sign that you are maturing in your riding. Beyond the results, this is what I find most encouraging. This is what leads me to believe that we may be witnessing the emergence of Mick Schumacher in Formula 1.

His learning is far from over and he will still make mistakes. But if he can keep the momentum going and start scoring points more regularly, he can prove he belongs in Formula 1.

When we look at their progress in the lower categories, we also see this kind of progression. In F3, he had completed his first season in 12e position in the drivers’ standings, before winning the title the following season. In F2, it is exactly the same scenario, i.e. 12e the first year and champion after that.

So it will be interesting to see if he can continue to replicate this trend. Especially since the results of Schumacher and Magnussen in the last two races have allowed Haas to move up the standings, from ninth to seventh place. In an interview for F1.com, Steiner even admits that sixth place is possible for the American team if the good results continue. We are certainly looking forward to Haas, and Schumacher’s results will have to follow the team’s ambitions.

And through these good results, we also learn more and more to discover the man behind the pilot. Of course we knew the surname, his father has marked a whole generation of Formula 1 fans. Now we know more about Mick, a very nice, smiling young man, available to the media (even in impeccable French!) , but also humble and grateful despite a household name forever associated with motoring.

His relationship with Sebastian Vettel, who took him under his wing as Michael once did with him, also offers many beautiful moments that we happily share on social media. It’s a moving story, between a veteran who wants to give back a little of what he was given to a young pilot who is trying to make a place for himself, but who also has to deal with his father’s difficult situation. . In such a competitive sport, it’s the kind of relationship we see too little of.

And it may also be why Formula 1 fans appreciated his performance in Austria so much, naming him Driver of the Day for the first time.

So yes, that’s right, it’s only two races in the points. But above all, it is a well-deserved reward for a driver who remains himself and perseveres despite the difficult tests on his way.

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