WORDS BY ROB HANSFORD | IMAGES BY HAAS
He finally did it. After 31 Formula 1 starts without a points finish, Mick Schumacher finally broke his duck.
He’s come so close to grabbing points in recent races, but it’s not materialised. However, last weekend at Silverstone all of that changed around when he crossed the finish line of the British Grand Prix in eighth position, being narrowly beaten by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Of course, there’s caveats to his result. Some big players failed to finish, including George Russell, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.
But would have, should have, could have. It really doesn’t matter. What’s key is that Schumacher finally got his first top 10 result of his career.
And it was needed too.
You may we recall that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece explaining how Schumacher was close to falling in an unwanted trap.
He was coming under pressure from the team to get a points finish, he was putting himself under increasing pressure to get it, and in the process he was beginning to make more mistakes.
However, his result in the British Grand Prix has eased all of that, and could be the turnaround he’s been looking for.
In recent months, Schumacher’s wheel-to-wheel combat has been lacklustre. On more than one occasion he’s had contact with a car he’s attempted to pass, but going up against Verstappen in the closing stages of the race proved that he can battle hard and fair, and more importantly cleanly.
It doesn’t really matter that he never passed the damaged Red Bull. Schumacher’s display of measured aggression demonstrated what he is truly capable of on his day.
There were so many positives for the Haas driver to take, but now he needs to make it count.
It would be easy to sit here and say now he needs to go on a run of consecutive points finishes, but it would be stupid to suggest that.
The Haas just isn’t capable of scraping into the top 10 every single race now.
But, what Schumacher can do is maintain that level of performance and in the process string together consecutive competitive finishes.
The pressure bubble has burst. He’s afforded himself some time having demonstrated to his bosses that he is capable of scoring points for the team.
And with that release comes an increase in confidence, which if used correctly will change his fortunes.
Schumacher has always been a late bloomer in terms of driver development. It’s always taken him a couple of years to get fully up to speed in a championship.
And while it’s too early to say that this will be the moment that changes his career fortunes, the signs definitely look a lot better than just a few weeks ago.
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