Haas rookie Mick Schumacher admits that driving at the back of the field in F1 without much competition to deal with is “kind of a torture”.
Schumacher is enduring his first year in the sport with a team that arguably has limited ambitions given its finite resources and a car stranded among the backmarkers since last season.
Schumacher’s main task this season is to learn, but fulfilling an education while making up the rear means that motivation can understandably be in short supply on race day.
But the young German has come up with a stratagem to keep himself focused and charging on race day.
“I don’t enjoy it when I’m not first so it’s kind of a torture driving at the back with no real competition,” he told Britain’s Channel 4.
“Therefore I have to make myself a Grand Prix, so let’s say if I have Nicholas (Latifi) in front of me or (George) Russell, it’s just like for me they are the leaders and I have to catch them.
“That’s the game that I’m playing to always stay motivated, to always keep on pushing and always be 100 per cent.”
The 22-year-old is facing a two-fold challenge in F1: learning his trade in a difficult environment and showing a glimpse of evidence that he is worthy of following in the footsteps of his famous father, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
“I think in general you have to say that you can’t make everybody happy, and I know my worth, I know what I have accomplished to be here,” he said.
“Having that surname doesn’t only give me the surname, it gives me potentially also the genes so I think I have a very good package and maybe the best teacher in the world.”
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner obviously isn’t expecting miracles from his young apprentice, an assumption that also applies to Schumacher’s teammate, Nikita Mazepin, whom the German has comfortably outpaced so far.
For Steiner, results are almost unimportant for Schumacher, but progress is paramount.
“Mick did well to recover from the earlier part of his race,” said the Haas team principal.
“As much as it’s not the result that makes you happy, what makes you happy is that we made progress.
“That was our plan, and if we can continue to work like this with less mistakes and more performance, that’s what we’re here for this year.”