Nov.12 (GMM) Mick Schumacher did his chances of a new Haas contract no help at Interlagos by qualifying by qualifying dead last for the sprint race.
Even worse for the 23-year-old German, his Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen stunned the Formula 1 world by achieving his and the team’s first ever pole position – helped, of course, by the late rain in Q3.
Even Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko had to admit it was an impressive feat for the experienced Dane.
“Magnussen took the chance, came out first and did a flawless lap,” he said.
“Max (Verstappen) made a mistake in turn 8, which cost five tenths, otherwise that would have been enough.”
However, Marko is confident Verstappen will easily win.
“It doesn’t matter whether the road is dry or wet,” he said.
“Max has to be careful, because we’ve seen in the past that Magnussen is also capable of crazy things. We saw in Singapore that he is an unpleasant opponent in a duel.
“Max will go for it, but without too much risk. I think he will take the victory in the sprint.”
Haas boss Gunther Steiner was obviously delighted with Magnussen’s pole – and less impressed with Schumacher’s dead-last 20th place.
“In my opinion, when he drove out, he was a bit too hesitant to drive a lap,” the 57-year-old said, amid rumours he is poised to announce that Nico Hulkenberg will replace Schumacher for 2023.
“I haven’t talked to Mick about qualifying yet, but he immediately came to me and congratulated me.”
Steiner hinted in Brazil that an announcement should be made in the few days before next weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
Schumacher said at Interlagos: “I don’t have a plan B. I’ll think about that when it’s time.
“But I’m here because I love the sport,” he added, amid rumours he could sign for Alpine as a reserve driver. “I don’t drive because I want to show people what I can and can’t do.”
Despite the fact that Red Bull selected Nyck de Vries for Alpha Tauri in 2023, the Faenza based team’s boss Franz Tost said a year out could end Schumacher’s entire F1 career.
“It would be a shame if he weren’t here in his important third year,” he told Sport1.
“I always say that a driver needs three years until he knows what to do in Formula 1,” Tost added. “That means 2023 will be the decisive year for Mick.
“A year’s break would definitely set him back, because it’s not just an important development phase for driving skills but also the whole understanding of Formula 1.
“It would interrupt his rhythm. Getting back to that takes a lot of time and energy.”