Tag Archives: Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton mistakes expected as Max Verstappen turns the screw – Schumacher

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher reckons Lewis Hamilton will make more mistakes than usual this year because Max Verstappen will push him closer than ever before. Mercedes have won the last seven Championships and are expected to extend their dominance this term.

Hamilton is looking to pull away from the world title record he shares with Michael Schumacher, but he will not have it his own way this term.

Verstappen has already shown in the opening two races of the season that he is ready to launch his first serious assault on the Drivers’ Championship.

Rare mistakes have started to creep into Hamilton’s races and Schumacher reckons he knows why.

“Hamilton has to go more to the limit now to even keep up with Verstappen,” he told Sky Germany. “And when I go to the limit more, mistakes happen.

“It will be close again between Lewis and Max. However, I see the Mercedes almost stronger than the Red Bull at this circuit.”

Hamilton won the season-opener in Bahrain and Verstappen emerged victorious at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The pair will next lock horns in Portugal this weekend and Schumacher is expecting fireworks.

“We saw it last year that it’s a difficult circuit,” he explained. “It’s new, but it’s very fast.

“There are many passages that you can’t see at all. Therefore, there is room for a lot of mistakes.

“If a car doesn’t work, it’s obviously difficult for the driver.”

Meanwhile, former F1 driver Gerhard Berger thinks Verstappen is the real deal this year.

“Why not? I think he is bloody good,” Berger told the F1 Nation podcast. “Of course he doesn’t have to experience of Lewis and Lewis showed him the way in Bahrain when he sent him out.

“But he learned very quick and the first corner at Imola he just said ‘Lewis, come and try to overtake me, you’re gonna go off’.

“So I think he already has experience, he’s still young, and what he doesn’t have he learns very quickly.

“So I think there is gonna be a strong fight.”

Mick Schumacher will deal with father's legacy pressure as he gears up for Haas F1 debut

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he believes Mick Schumacher will deal with the pressure of carrying his father’s legacy in Formula One, but thinks we will have to wait a few years to see if he carries the same level of talent.
The name Schumacher is returning to the F1 grid this season, and with it comes enormous pressure on the rookie driver, 22-year-old Mick, son of the seven-time world champion.

Haas have a new line-up this season, with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin stepping up into his first season in F1 too.

But realistically, all eyes around the world will be on the Formula 2 champion Mick, who is about to experience a debut like no other in the sport.

“The excitement in Germany is huge, I say Germany because obviously he is from there, but it’s worldwide because his father was such a great driver, he won seven championships,” explained Steiner, speaking exclusively to the Express Sport.

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“I know it was an era, but he came from nowhere and won a lot, so for sure, it’s a brand that comes back.

“A lot of people just recognise it and go back to watch it again.”

Until last year, Mick’s father Michael was one of the most successful grand prix drivers in history, and not only does Mick carry his surname, but this season on the timing screens – long term fans will see a familiar three letters ‘MSC’, rather than ‘SCH’ – a nod to his father’s legacy.

However Steiner admitted it was too early to say if we will see any glimpses of his famous father’s skills on track this season.

“He has got talent, because he won Formula 2, because otherwise he wouldn’t be with us. Michael was a seven-time world champion with two different teams, two with one, five with the other, so he was an exceptional talent, you get one of these guys every 20 or 30 years, with exceptional talent,” continued Steiner.

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“Let’s hope Mick has got that same talent, but it’s too early to say and times have changed as well.

“But for sure he has got talent, how big it is – we will find out in the next years, not in the next weeks, the next years.”

There will be a lot of pressure on the 22-year-old to emulate his father, and follow in his footsteps to success.

But the team boss believes he will overcome the pressure of carrying the legacy.

“I think he will deal okay with it, his father didn’t come in and win a race in the first year, but times have changed as well,” Steiner added.

“I think he’s well prepared for it, the fans will be impatient to see him winning because you think he can just pick up where his father left off, but I think it will take some time.

“But I think he needs to deal with it. There will be pressure and some moments he will not be happy because of the pressures, but when you are young you can take a lot.

“We just need to help him grow as a driver and a human being as well.”

Haas have an all-rookie line-up this season, after Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen weren’t retained, with Schumacher and Mazepin stepping up to the pinnacle of the sport.

And Steiner explained the goal at Haas is to learn and grow this season, for a chance to be competitive in 2022 when regulations in F1 change.

“Last year we decided that we needed to go a different way for the future, because we were struggling last year, and some stages we weren’t even sure if we were coming back this year, and then once it was decided we’re coming back, I was like, the car will be what it is, because we knew we fell back in developments and couldn’t make it up anymore,” continued the team boss.

“And then my focus shifted last year already to 2022, I saw 22 as an opportunity for us because of the new regulations.

“Then you look at it and think, well what are the drivers? Ok, we have the chance to get new drivers for 2022, and take some rookies.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes warned over Red Bull threat by Schumacher – 'I'm thrilled'

Six-time Formula One race winner Ralf Schumacher has urged Mercedes to make drastic improvements to their aero package in order to maintain their dominance over Red Bull this year. The Silver Arrows failed to live up to their usual standards during pre-season testing in Bahrain earlier this month, leaving the condensed three-day programme as the second fastest team on paper.
Max Verstappen’s best lap was over a second quicker than that of Mercedes, which was set by Hamilton on the final day of the weekend.

The seven-time champion also spun out on a number of occasions as a result of the German outfit’s dodgy rear end, influenced by this year’s relatively minor but influential regulation changes mandating alterations to the floor design, diffuser fences and rear brake duct winglets.

Schumacher, who is the brother of decorated champion Michael and the uncle of Haas rookie Mick, suggested that Mercedes have their work cut out in order to catch up to Red Bull before the first Grand Prix of the season this weekend.

He claimed that the Silver Arrows need to focus on improving their rear end, but conceded that they may have been sandbagging during testing, pointing out that much of their running was done with high levels of fuel on board.

“I’m thrilled with how good the Red Bull is,” Schumacher told F1-Insider.com. “Mercedes seems to have problems with the car.

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“The rear end seemed very unstable. That’s why Red Bull is ahead for me at the moment. But it’s also clear that Mercedes hasn’t shown everything yet and drove with more fuel on board.

“They have to get the problems under control as quickly as possible now, otherwise it will be close compared with Red Bull.”

Schumacher claimed that the vast majority of Mercedes’ problems lie with the airflow over their rear wing, with its uncharacteristic instability playing a role in throwing Hamilton off the track.

“It looks as if the rear wing, which is extremely important for a stable rear, is not always optimally hit by the airflow,” he explained.

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“So we’re talking about an aerodynamics problem. From my experience I know that something like this is not very easy to solve.”

Schumacher made 182 Grand Prix starts during his ten-year spell in F1, turning out for Jordan, Williams and Toyota with varying degrees of success.

He reflected on the struggles he faced with Williams at the start of the 2003 season, stressing that minor alterations can have a significant influence on a team’s fortunes.

“McLaren, the team that had to be beaten alongside Ferrari at the time, brought in new deflectors that Williams wanted to copy,” recalled Schumacher.

“Somehow it didn’t work as we wanted, the car was unstable and difficult to drive.

“In the first race in Australia I came into contact with another car and lost one of the wind deflectors. Then the car was suddenly much better and drove three tenths of a second faster per lap!

“After that, the parts on the car were no longer seen. That just goes to show that small parts can often have a big impact.”

Mercedes will be hoping to get back to their best in time for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, which gets underway on Friday with free practice at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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Meanwhile, Mercedes believe Red Bull have the fastest car going into the opening race of the season.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Mercedes strategy director James Vowles said.

“No-one up and down the paddock can pinpoint exactly where they are.

“But there are a few trends that have come out. I’d say Red Bull are ahead on performance. They are the class act.”

Vowles added: “Red Bull are a fierce adversary, they’ve got a strong package and clearly came out of the box very, very quick.

Lewis Hamilton's Michael Schumacher record admission piles pressure on to Valtteri Bottas

At the launch of the W12 this week, Lewis Hamilton appeared to confirm his desire to stay in Formula One into 2022 – regardless of whether or not he wins the Drivers’ Championship for an eighth time in 2021. The Briton can surpass Michael Schumacher for the most F1 world titles of all time this season.
But he said about his future, having signed only a one-year contract extension with Mercedes last month: “I have made a real important decision in my mind that [the Schumacher record] I don’t want that to be the deciding factor.

“I got into racing because I loved racing. That has got to be at the core of what I do. If I don’t love racing, if all you’re going for is accolades, all you’re going for is titles I feel like I could potentially lose my way.

“Of course it’s the ultimate dream but I don’t think it’s going to be the deciding factor as to whether I stay or keep going.

“It’s more whether when I put the helmet on, I still have the smile when I leave the garage. Last year was a really tough year for everyone, including me. There were still some really impactful moments.

“Will it be the case this year? We’ll see. Will I enjoy it as much? I’m excited now, so I’m sure I will.”

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Consider those recent suggestions that surpassing Schumacher might see Hamilton call it a day firmly shut down, then. Championship success is no longer the Briton’s motivation, he says, and so he’ll keep driving for as long as he loves it as much as he does.

He may be 36 years old but Hamilton’s mesmerising ability means he still has a few years left at the top. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen may rival the seven-time champion for sheer blistering pace, but no-one on the grid matches his racecraft. 

The news then that Hamilton is likely to continue into 2022 is more than welcome, although it isn’t ideal for one man – his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn remains as determined as ever to dethrone the man across from him in the Mercedes garage but he finished 124 points behind last season and though huge misfortune has hurt Bottas in recent seasons, it’s clear he simply is not of the same standard as Hamilton.

Time and time again he has made it obvious he has not intentions to resort to the psychological tactics employed by Nico Rosberg, the only man to beat Mercedes to the title since 2014 having done so in 2016, when he retired after having channelled everything into bettering Hamilton.

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Despite exhausting himself to do so, Hamilton only ended five points behind and it’s no surprise that he has bettered the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Bottas and Verstappen so dominantly in the past four years since Rosberg retired.
Despite having to cram his tall frame into a cockpit designed for the smaller Hamilton, having to wear shoes a size too small to fit in, Russell was twice nailed on for victory if not for a team pitstop mistake and then a cruel puncture. 

He finished a very narrow second to Bottas in qualifying too, with ‘Mr Saturday’ as he’s become known for Williams – where he has never been outqualified and owns a 37-0 perfect record on Saturdays – making it clear that he has the pace to race for the Silver Arrows not just in the future, but now.

Before Hamilton’s comments about an eighth title, it was assumed that both Mercedes seats might be up for grabs for 2022, with Russell, fellow Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon and Verstappen among those in the frame.

But unless his feelings change throughout this season, as they certainly could, Hamilton currently seems pretty set on staying on to see how the new regulations impact F1 in 2022.

That would leave just one seat uncertain and despite Mercedes’ loyalty to Bottas, if Russell is consistent throughout 2021, outqualifies Nicholas Latifi regularly and perhaps sneaks a few points finishes, he is well and truly knocking on the door.

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Bottas has said ahead of the upcoming season, which begins in Bahrain on March 28: “This year, although Lewis has won all the titles since we’ve been team-mates, going into this year we’re starting from fresh and with a new page.

“And yes, I absolutely believe I can fight for the title. That’s, of course, the ultimate goal this season. That’s my target.”

But the past two years, he’s finished second but ended well adrift of Hamilton. The gap between the pair last year coming despite Hamilton missing the Sakhir race due to coronavirus.

If Bottas doesn’t do more to bridge the deficit, and Russell continues to improve and show a steady and stable level of performance from race to race for backmarkers Williams, Toto Wolff will have a real decision to make before the end of this season.

It looks like 2021 will be make or break for Bottas with the Brackley-based outfit.

Lewis Hamilton: Fernando Alonso battle 'not possible' despite Michael Schumacher warning

Fernando Alonso has been ruled out of battling Lewis Hamilton at the front of the Formula One grid with Alpine this season by Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel, who insists the Spaniard will have lost speed in his two years away from the sport.
Alonso has been out of F1 since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he called time on a disappointing stint with McLaren.

The two-time world champion returns this month in Bahrain with Alpine, rebranded from Renault, and it is hoped he will be able to get right in the mix of the midfield battles.

But former Spanish racer Pedro de la Rosa, who competed in 107 Grands Prix, went one step further while discussing the return of the 39-year-old in a Movistar documentary about Alonso.

De la Rosa warned seven-time world champion Hamilton that Alonso can rival the Mercedes driver and even deny him an eighth title to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of seven, which he equalled in 2020.

“These last few years away from the sport have made him appreciate F1,” De la Rosa said. “His return is going to be very positive for F1 in general, not just for him.

“He can win the world championship again. [He has created] an excitement around the sport – it all used to be a bit sad before Alonso appeared.

“People used to be completely indifferent to it because there wasn’t a Spaniard who was winning.”

But Coronel disagrees completely and thinks Alonso, who will turn 40 in July, will not have the same speed as before.

The former Ferrari driver would become the oldest F1 world champion since 1966, when Sir Jack Brabham reigned supreme, if he were actually able to shock the sport and claim a third Drivers’ Championship.

Presented a statement by one F1 fan who claimed Alonso could be the grid’s ‘sensation’ in 2021, Ziggo Sport analyst declared to Formule1.nl: “And then you woke up: in your dreams. If he succeeds, I’ll be the first to make a very, very deep bow.

“But that is not going to happen, it would be against all natural laws. Once you’ve left Formula One, you’re done.
The veteran driver was recently hospitalised with a fractured jaw after a collision with a car while out cycling although after surgery, he is expected to be fine to start the season on March 28.

But he will not be in England for the unveiling of Alpine’s A521, though he is still likely to take part in the event.

Alpine explained: “The sanitary situation and corresponding regulations in place do not allow him to do any communications and marketing activities while he undertakes his critical season preparation.

“We will instead publish a Q&A with Fernando for media use and he will be available for media in Bahrain for official pre-season testing.”