Mick Schumacher has been commended by compatriot Sebastian Vettel for what the four-time world champion believes was an “incredible job” for Haas in his first season in Formula 1.
Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, graduated to the series as the reigning Formula 2 champion, making his debut at the season opener in Bahrain.
Haas’ decision to not develop its 2021 car to focus on next year’s regulation changes meant Schumacher was thrown in at the deep end in uncompetitive machinery.
While often unable to to qualify off the back row, the German made Q2 on two occasions in France and Turkey, and consistently outperformed team-mate Nikita Mazepin.
Vettel, who acted as a mentor to Schumacher in his debut year, felt given the car the Haas driver had at his disposal, a series of “strong showings” were enough to suggest his rookie F1 campaign was a success.
“Well, I think it’s difficult to judge because the car has been so far off,” Vettel said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“But, you know, for those who are looking closely – obviously I’ve been following – and yeah, he did an incredible job with such a poor car to reach Q2 a couple of times, to have strong showings in the race, fight some of the cars that are much faster, or stick with the cars are supposed to be much faster.
“That’s a great effort, and even more so I think it’s been a huge lift for the entire team. I think the offset from the start of the season for that team was poor because they had no development, and they were far behind.”
Vettel also praised Schumacher’s work ethic in his bid to get everything out of his first-full season, and hopes his efforts will be rewarded with a more competitive car in 2022.
“I think if you look throughout the year Mick has been very happy, enthusiastic and happy to put work in and he’s been one of the first ones – if not the first one – every single day to come to the paddock, one of the latest ones to leave and showing huge interest in trying to push the team along,” Vettel said.
“So apart from the job on track that he did, apart from maybe some very small mistakes that happen in your first year, he did a great job. So, I really wish that he gets a much better car next year so he can show what he’s able to do.”