Haas driver Mick Schumacher had an exciting day after finishing tenth in the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.
However, Schumacher was not having a good time when it all started with his rear brakes catching fire in the middle of final practice for the Spanish Grand Prix. Big flames were flying out of the back of the VF-22 by the time he returned to the pit lane.
Before qualifying, the team had to work hard to fix the damage to the rear of the car, as well as perform a precautionary gearbox change. Despite arriving late to the track, he managed it to Q1 in time and placed 11th in the first round, qualifying him for Q2.
Although it was a bit of a last-minute affair, Schumacher was able to find enough speed to survive the next cut despite Lando Norris’ fastest lap being erased for violating track restrictions by a fraction of a second.
For the first time in his Formula One career, he advanced to the final top ten pole shoot-out, and will start today’s race from P10.
“We’re obviously happy about getting into Q3,” the 23-year-old German said after the end of the session.
“Even though it didn’t really look like we were on the pace, we still managed to do well.”
“Not having driven FP3 definitely put a spanner in the works, but we managed to overcome it, so I’m very happy about today and very thankful for the team.”
Schumacher had previously qualified tenth for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, however this was due to penalties and pit lane starts for drivers ahead of him on the grid.
His previous best qualifying performance in 26 Formula One appearances was 12th in the 2022 season opener in Bahrain.
Because they are the only team not to have brought big upgrades to Spain, Haas’ victory in qualifying with both Schumacher and his teammate Kevin Magnussen is particularly noteworthy.
“It felt great knowing that we haven’t brought any updates and a bunch of teams have,” Schumacher added.
“Knowing that we’re still in that ballpark is definitely a good feeling.”
After what had been “a really nerve-racking day in total!” according to Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, it was a very positive result.
“In FP3 Mick had the issue with his rear brakes, and the hard work the guys had to do to get the car ready for qualifying – they did a terrific job to get it there just in time. You can’t ask for more of the team.
“Two Haas cars in Q3 for the first time since 2019!” he said.
“I think it shows that we’ve made progress in the last races and it’s fantastic.”