Haas didn’t get far up in the timesheets of qualifying for the F1 season-opener in Bahrain, but their driver Mick Schumacher, who finished 19th ahead of teammate Nikita Mazepin, still thinks that Haas can make it into Q2.
The American Haas squad chose to dismiss big upgrades on its new car for 2021, the VF-21, and also dispensed on a magnificent development from 2020 to this year. Its focus remains on the new automobile for the 2022 season, which is also going to welcome significant regulatory changes. So it probably gets displayed in the first session of the current Formula 1 season as both its drivers finished in the last row of the grid in qualifying.
However, Mick Schumacher is sure the team can still manage to pull their full performance out and even make it into the second part of qualifying. In Bahrain, Haas was four tenths behind Sebastian Vettel in P18 and a total of eight tenths of a second separated from a Q2 appearance. Although the gap to reach Q2 was big for the squad, Schumacher pointed out that the result in the first qualifying of the year wasn’t a disappointing one in his eyes.
“We shouldn’t say it was disappointing in any way,” he said when he was asked about the gap. “I think we managed it pretty well. We had one clean lap. That’s what we wanted. We managed to be close to what we imagined in terms of pace.”
“Obviously we had a bit of a deficit. I am 95% happy with my lap. Obviously there’s still a lot of things that I can improve and definitely will be still working on them for the time being. For me, it’s about gaining that experience and then hopefully throughout be able to change that into a, well, consistent pattern of improvement from one session to the other.”
Haas was the only team on the 2021 grid which failed to have at least one driver in the Q2 session of the Bahrain qualifying, as their rivals Williams and Alfa Romeo achieved this hurdle. Despite the frightening performance in the opening qualifying session, Schumacher remains optimistic that the team can make it out of Q1 in the upcoming weekends of the season.
He said that he is “positive in that sense, yes. We will be working on ourselves. I will be working on myself a lot. I see the motivation in the team, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t be optimistic that throughout the season, we can be even hopefully at some point be able to go into Q2s.”
Also Schumacher’s teammate Nikita Mazepin is sure that the team can fight for Q2 positions and underlined the positivity of his team partner. “I think what he said was correct,” the young Russian told the media to the question of If he agrees with Schumacher.
“Then in regards to my lap out there, obviously it was very bad, because I had this issue with the brakes and obviously I had only one attempt on the lap itself, which is annoying. But then it’s very important to look at the bigger picture. We knew that first qualifying and this year was going to be rather tough.”