Jul.11 (GMM) Mick Schumacher took another step away from losing his Formula 1 seat with a strong performance in Austria.
Mere weeks and even days ago, speculation was rife that Haas was not happy with the prospect of another Ferrari-backed contract for the struggling son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
Austria, though, was the 23-year-old’s second consecutive points finish – which involved passing experienced teammate Kevin Magnussen.
Just prior to the race weekend, Magnussen had said: “It’s difficult when you’re the only one who regularly makes it into the points.”
But after the weekends at Silverstone and now at the Red Bull Ring, the Dane admitted: “Mick has made a big step in the last two races.
“I’m happy for him and the team,” he is quoted by Bild newspaper.
“We are now seventh in the team world championship and we want to get even better, and for that we need two drivers who can finish in the points.”
As for Schumacher even passing him on the track, 29-year-old Magnussen said: “If he is faster, there is no reason to block him.
“I’m here to help the team, not to win the world championship. I’m not in that position.
“Hopefully I’ll get it one day, but I’m a team player and I’m happy with our double points. That’s why you didn’t see me block like a savage.”
Schumacher was even awarded F1’s coveted ‘driver of the day’.
“He’s strong in a duel,” Mick’s uncle Ralf said after Sunday’s Austrian GP.
“We’ve already seen that in Formula 2, and now in Formula 1 we see he also has to practice it a bit.
“Last year it wasn’t possible because of the car, now it is. He does it superbly, defending hard but fairly.
“Mistakes can always happen, but he’s doing it perfectly now,” former F1 driver Schumacher, 47, added.
Mick even attracted more praise from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, amid rumours both Mercedes and Red Bull may be interested in poaching the young German from Ferrari’s junior program.
“Mick drove great, defended well and is always on the sporting side,” said Wolff. “I’m happy to see that. A good young man.”
As for a new Haas contract for Schumacher, team boss Gunther Steiner said he “never talks about that” before the traditional summer break at least.
However, he slammed any talk about an ongoing rift with Schumacher.
“The relationship between me and Mick is good. There is no problem,” Steiner insisted.