No driver in the history of Formula 2 has ever carried the same level of pressure as Mick Schumacher. Still just 21-years-old, he’s never seemed fazed by the expectation. Always smiling, forever calm and relaxed. But, after sealing the title in the most dramatic of ways, he seemed lost in the moment. Almost stuck for words and visibly emotional, he said following the race “I wanted to achieve something myself and I wanted to prove to myself that I am here for a reason.”
That is exactly what he has done, recovering from a slow start to the season – where he scored just twice in the opening two rounds – to take an incredible tally of ten podiums and two wins, beating Callum Ilott to the crown by 14 points.
“The start of the season wasn't what we planned,” he admitted. “We didn't put everything together and that was mainly from my side, I think that the team was great all year long. But, step by step, the podiums started rolling in, and those two victories as well. I am sorry, it is hard for me to talk!
“I think the relationship that I have with the team, it is really about that. I have known my F2 team for two years and the whole PREMA team for five years. I think that creates a bond, it creates trust and that is very important in a championship.
“When times were tough, we stuck together and motivate each other to keep on pushing, to keep on working on ourselves, to keep on striving to try and move forwards and that is what we did.”
Consistency has been the hallmark of Schumacher’s title run – heading into the season finale, he’d not finished out of the points since Round 4, and yet, he sealed the title with his worst finish of the year.
The German had made a break for P1 at the start of the race, climbing ahead of Jehan Daruvala for P2, but then locked up heading into Turn 4 and burnt out his Pirellis. PREMA called him in for an unexpected pitstop and he was chucked back out in P20 – praying that Ilott didn’t steal the title from him, but finishing in second, with the fastest lap.
In the end he was safe - The UNI-Virtuosi racer suffered from heavy degradation and crossed the line 10th.
“My goal was to win the last race, so I am a bit disappointed with my performance,” conceded Schumacher, who finished in P18. “I think that I over-estimated the grip and thought that I had more grip than there was, therefore I locked up.
“After that, I was trying to stay in front of Callum, trying to slow them down as much as I could, collecting everyone behind me. But after that it just kept on locking and in the end it was the safest and the best decision to come in and pit.
“Nevertheless, we have done enough over the whole year to give us the opportunity to have a bad race. Today was anything but easy. It was very windy, very gusty, and very sandy – but what matters is that we are here now.”
Having become the fourth F2 champion, Schumacher will join Charles Leclerc and George Russell by graduating into the pinnacle of motorsport. The PREMA racer was announced as a HAAS driver for 2021 last week, signing a multi-year contract.
“Bringing a championship title with you on your CV into F1, that is great,” he continued. “I had one in (European) F3 and now I have one in F2 as well – one of the top championships to compete in.
“To win against great competition – Dan Ticktum in F3 and now Callum (Ilott) in F2, who I know very well from the FDA - has been a great challenge. The better the competition, the more you develop as a driver. I will carry everything through to F1.”