Mick Schumacher can see a points finish on the horizon after an impressive showing at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.
For the first time this season, the young German managed to out-qualify experienced team-mate Kevin Magnussen as neither Haas car managed to make it into the third and final qualifying session.
The 23-year-old’s race was a highly entertaining one. On lap three, he had to take avoiding action as he somehow escaped contact with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard span across the track and into the gravel.
He then narrowly missed Yuki Tsunoda under the Safety Car caused by a crash for his good friend Sebastian Vettel after a misunderstanding as the drivers attempted to retain as much heat as they could in the tyres by accelerating and braking on the straight, before getting involved in some exciting battles.
He was twice passed by Magnussen after making mistakes at Turn 10, and he also got caught up in engaging battles with Fernando Alonso and Zhou Guanyu.
He would eventually pass his Danish team-mate to come home for a thirteenth-placed finish, denying him his first points in Formula 1.
Nonetheless, it was an enthralling midfield battle yet again in Melbourne, and the German described his day as “eventful.”
“It was a very eventful one,” he said.
“Right from the beginning with Carlos coming around and cutting back across the track, I think we got missed by a few meters there, and obviously Yuki under the Safety car coming quite close together.”
The Haas driver reiterates that the pace of the car was not a million miles adrift of attaining points, but laments the fact that, despite the numerous changes to the track layout at Albert Park, overtaking opportunities are at a premium.
“I think in terms of pace we were not too far off, it’s just unfortunate that there’s not a huge amount of passing opportunities here,” he added.
“Lots was learned, some positives, so we’ve just got to take it away with us and hopefully be better in Imola.”
Regarding his close call with Tsunoda under the Safety Car, the FIA pledged to speak with the drivers about etiquette under a race caution to avoid accidents.
“The stewards find no driver guilty of breaching the regulation, however, it is clear that the speed and braking capabilities of F1 cars, especially while trying to maintain required temperatures in tyres and brakes, are in tension with the ten car length separation behind the Safety Car traditionally specified in the regulations,” read the conclusion of an investigation into the incident.
“This needs to be a point of emphasis in future driver briefings, to ensure the drivers collectively agree on how best to address this challenge before an unfortunate incident occurs.”
Schumacher was on the radio to his team after the near-miss to exclaim: “Holy cow, that was close.”