Schumacher: No reason Haas can’t fight for Q2 this year

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Schumacher and Haas team-mate Nikita Mazepin propped up the timesheets during qualifying for the Bahrain season-opener two weeks ago, finishing 19th and 20th respectively.

Haas opted against significant development for the VF-21 car, treating 2021 as a transition year in order to place focus on the new regulations coming in 2022.

Schumacher finished eight-tenths of a second adrift of a place in Q2 in Bahrain, and was almost four-tenths of a second slower than 18th-placed Sebastian Vettel.

But the German driver felt Haas’s qualifying performance was roughly what the team was anticipating on his debut race weekend.

“We shouldn’t say it was disappointing in any way,” Schumacher said when asked about the gap to Q2 in Bahrain qualifying.

“I think we managed it pretty well. We had one clean lap. That’s what we wanted. We managed to be close to what we imagined in terms of pace.

“Obviously we had a bit of a deficit. I am 95% happy with my lap. Obviously there’s still a lot of things that I can improve and definitely will be still working on them for the time being.

“For me, it’s about gaining that experience and then hopefully throughout be able to change that into a, well, consistent pattern of improvement from one session to the other.”

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, George Russell, Williams FW43B

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The nine other F1 teams managed to get at least one car through to Q2 in Bahrain, seven of which also had a driver feature in Q3.

Schumacher was nevertheless hopeful that Haas would be able to challenge and fight with other teams for Q2 berths throughout the season.

“I’m positive in that sense, yes,” Schumacher said.

“We will be working on ourselves. I will be working on myself a lot. I see the motivation in the team, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t be optimistic that throughout the season, we can even be – hopefully at some point – able to go into Q2s.”

Schumacher’s optimism was echoed by Mazepin, who lamented a “very bad” qualifying lap as he finished eight-tenths of a second off his team-mate after spinning at Turn 1 in the closing moments of Q1.

“I think what he said was correct,” Mazepin said when asked if he agreed with Schumacher’s Q2 belief.

“Then in regards to my lap out there, obviously it was very bad, because I had this issue with the brakes and obviously I had only one attempt on the lap itself, which is annoying.

“But then it’s very important to look at the bigger picture. We knew that first qualifying and this year was going to be rather tough.”

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Formula 1