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No points again for Schumacher: so Mick squandered another chance

No points again for Schumacher: so Mick squandered another chance

24-10-2022 13:05 Last update: 13:43


Once again, it was Kevin Magnussen and not Mick Schumacher who managed to bring in points for Haas. Yet Schumacher drove much of the US Grand Prix ahead of his teammate. How was it that the German still gave it away? GPblog dives into the young driver's race.

Pressure on Schumacher

Schumacher is under pressure. Since the arrival of Magnussen, the German has come up short within his own team and the management is considering appointing Nico Hulkenberg for 2023. So Schumacher needs to perform and, above all, pick up points again. Before the race in America, Schumacher only managed to do that twice, whereas Magnussen already finished in the points five times. A sixth time was added in Texas.

For Schumacher, Magnussen's eighth place must have felt painful. Indeed, Schumacher was driving in front of his teammate until the 34th lap. The son of Michael Schumacher started the race from behind his teammate after ruining his last run in Q1 with a spin at the first corner, but on the hard tyre, Magnussen had a lousy start. Schumacher also started on the hard tyre but got away better than the Dane.

Thus, Schumacher was soon ahead of his teammate and up against the points. The pair were also helped on lap 19 by Valtteri Bottas, who had parked his Alfa Romeo in the gravel, prompting a safety car. A little too early perhaps for a one-stopper, but both drivers were brought in for a used set of mediums.

A chance for Mick

After the crash of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, Schumacher was on course for a point. He was driving in tenth place and soon had his back with Magnussen behind him on P11. A good starting position for Haas and there was a chance for more. Indeed, Schumacher was on a train behind Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris. Schumacher had more pace than the men in front of him but was held up. So there was a good chance for points.

On lap 33, the pit stop game began among this group, as the slowest of the bunch, Gasly, dived in. This was the cue for Tsunoda, Norris and Schumacher to kick on. An overcut was possible on Gasly, who had held up the group the whole time. A lap later, Tsunoda and Schumacher dove into the pits for a new set of the hard tyre. Schumacher signalled over the board radio that he preferred to stay outside: 'I can stay in this fight,' he shouted, but he complied with the team order and dived in. It worked out well, as both got on the track ahead of Gasly.

However, Schumacher did not appear to have the desired pace on the hard tyre. He lost ground to Norris and Tsunoda and was then driven off track by Nicholas Latifi. Schumacher did pass him but was eventually also passed by Gasly, the man who had held him up so much on mediums. The painful thing was that Norris and Tsunoda did succeed in their mission. For Norris, this strategy would eventually yield a sixth place, Tsunoda was ninth due to Alonso's penalty. Schumacher should have been in this but did not deliver when he should have.

Magnussen does take points

Schumacher himself will point to Magnussen's aberrant strategy. The Dane did not come in for new hard tyres and stayed out on the mediums. These were completely gone by the end, but Magnussen still managed to drag out an eighth place. That Haas wanted to spread the odds makes sense, that it designated Magnussen for the extreme stint on mediums too. In the end, it was Schumacher himself who failed to get the two-stop strategy working.

For Schumacher, it was another chance to score points, but also another wasted opportunity. It will not increase his chances of getting a seat for 2023. Gené Haas put the pressure on for this weekend: Schumacher had to score points. The leadership will increasingly lean towards another option if Schumacher misses moments like this too often.