2021 F1 driver rankings #17: Mick Schumacher

2021 F1 driver rankings

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Mick Schumacher was conclusively the quicker of the two Haas drivers, beating Nikita Mazepin in the 20 qualifying sessions where both set times.

Mick Schumacher

Beat team mate in qualifying20/20
Beat team mate in race11/14
Races finished19/22
Laps spent ahead of team mate590/915
Qualifying margin-0.61s

What happened in the other two? On those occasions Schumacher was unable to participate after crashing in final practice and damaging his car. So it wasn’t exactly a flawless victory, but he left no room for doubt who wielded the uncompetitive VF-21 the most effectively.

Ranking Schumacher against more experienced rivals in quicker cars is a trickier proposition as he seldom had the opportunity to race them wheel-to-wheel. He made a nuisance of himself for Nicholas Latifi on more than one occasion, beating him from time to time in a qualifying session or race. In Hungary Schumacher also led Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo home, and demonstrated fine racecraft against Max Verstappen, keeping the badly hobbled Red Bull at bay as long as he could.

As Schumacher decisively out-qualified his team mate much of the time, it became imperative for Mazepin to get ahead of him at the start if he was to stand any chance of finishing ahead. If Mazepin found his way by, Schumacher could expect a tough response when he inevitably came past, as happened at Baku and Zandvoort. His restraint on those occasions was impressive, as was his opportunistic, first-lap pass on his team mate in Monaco.

On the other hand, when Schumacher ended the first lap with Mazepin his mirrors, the number nine Haas diminished in size rapidly. It wasn’t unusual for him to finish half a minute or more up the road.

There were times when Schumacher made what can only be described as rookie errors. Spinning into a wall during the Safety Car period at Imola was an obvious example. He also crashed in Jeddah and tangled with Kimi Raikkonen at Interlagos.

But on his best days Schumacher took the Haas into Q2, where it never really deserved to appear. This came about due to a slice of luck at Paul Ricard – he crashed, triggering red flags which prevented others beating his time – but was fully merited in a rain-hit session at Istanbul Park. There, as at Sochi, his lap time margin over Mazepin was staggering.

So while Schumacher’s first season in F1 was hardly smooth sailing throughout, he produced some impressive performances when circumstances and the chassis allowed it, and left many expecting better things from him if he has a more competitive car this year.

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What’s your verdict on Mick Schumacher’s 2021 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments. Add your views on the other drivers in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “2021 F1 driver rankings #17: Mick Schumacher”

  1. The text doesn’t really seem to match up with the ranking. By all accounts Mick had a reasonably impressive season, handily beating his teammate and occasionally taking the Haas into places it had no right to be (i.e. Q2), even if the odd shunt counts against him. But by that metric he surely ranks ahead of the likes of Stroll, and possibly a few others too.

    1. Yeah, from the text it really doesn’t shout “4th worst performance amongst a field of 20 full season drivers”, does it.

      1. @bascb In some ways it is a difficult season to rank drivers, especially at the bottom end, because apart from Mazepin and (IMO) Stroll, no one had a uniformly poor season. Most drivers had at least a couple of standout performances, even if that was just one or two eye-catching qualifying sessions (thinking of Russell and Giovinazzi here, as well as Schumacher). But factoring in the relative performances of the cars I would still say that Mick deserves to be higher.

        1. I agree here. This is especially the case when most people have been saying the Haas has been a universally terrible car this season. The car performance, by all accounts, is so ridiculously far behind the rest that it is near miraculous that they made it out of Q1 at all, but Mick did that on multiple occasions.

        2. Schumacher is the hardest to rank because do you compare him to his teammate, or his potential (as was the case with Verstappen)? Based on his potential, I think he underperformed, or perhaps the Haas really was that bad. Based on his teammate, he should be a bit higher up.

          1. JackLThe ranking at racefans.net has aimed for the first, comparison to his teammate since potential (or lack of it) is much harder to objectively satisfy, especially for rookies, which explains why he’s not higher. I do agree with posters above though that the text seems to go for potential which makes it feel odd he’s at this rank. I do guess there were a few too many serious errors/lack of good scoring to be able to say it was a better season, though it does show promise for the future.

    2. I agree i would rate him above the alfa drivers at least.

      1. Absolutely.

  2. RandomMallard
    6th January 2022, 7:38

    I personally think Mick has been a bit hard done by here, but I can understand why. He season was one full of highs (a couple of Q2 appearances here and there, running in the top 10 for quite a while in Hungary) and lows (Imola, crashing having just reached Q2 in France, his whole Monaco weekend). I think it’s a shame we couldn’t see really what he was capable of, because that Haas was so far off the pace and because Mazepin is not the most representative of benchmarks.

    1. someone or something
      6th January 2022, 11:25

      Imola? The race where he almost lapped his own team mate by putting 68 seconds between them in just 27 laps?
      Yeah, he did damage his front wing behind the Safety Car, but I mean, 2nd race in F1, wet track, an evidently poorly balanced car … George Russel crashed out on the same track, in dry conditions, in his 34th Grand Prix, and most of us still agree he’s good. Like, really good.
      I don’t know, citing that one rookie mistake (that literally had no impact on his race, as he didn’t lose a position despite his pit stop) in a race of two halves, as one of his lows (which is technically correct, but the argument is structured in such a way as to suggest there was really something wrong with his performance on the whole), strikes me as an exaggeration.

      1. You know how the timing bar on the left had side sometimes switches from ‘time from leader’ and ‘time from car ahead’.

        At Imola (and others) Nikita could really make it difficult to figure out which setting we were on. Being more than a minute behind Mick had me scratching my head.

      2. You do make a fair argument. I should have been more specific, and just with the incident in Imola. Because after that he did put in a very stellar performance

  3. I am inclined to agree with the comments posted so far. Whilst I am a bit of a Ricciardo fan, there is a strong argument that (despite a win) Danny underperformed for the car (as was possibly the case for Kimi too), whilst Mick may well of over-performed for the car. So on these metrics alone it is hard to agree with the assigned ranking.

    However, if the ranking = (“personal assessment” x “championship finishing position factor”) then 17th is more understandable.

  4. That car was a dog with no downforce or development for the entire year, much harder to drive than an AlphaTauri or Williams. So, given Mick’s results that were many times comparable to Latifi and Tsunoda’s, this should probably make him the better driver of the 3.

  5. I see what other people mean with this being a little unkind. But for me I still think this list so far is about right.

    I wasn’t at all impressed by Mick. Even if you weigh in his rookie status, terrible car and terrible teammate, I still can’t justify putting him higher.

    That said, I think he’s deserving of the opportunity to continue to grow in the sport. I wish him well in the future.

    1. Idk, i mean he did pretty much everything you could ever expect from him, including the occasional q2 heroics.
      Basically he did the same as Russell did in 2019. except Russell was hailed for “almost” making q2 once.

      would definetively put above Giovinazzi and Stroll.

    2. Come to think of it, Bottas was just awful in my book.

  6. Really like racefans.net, but the ranking seems a bit too easy to me.

    Not sure for instance that Tsunoda deserved to be ahead of Mazepin as they both struggled massively, had many incidents etc. But Mazepin had a very bad and inconsistent car while the Japanese driver had a very good car and the support of a strong team.

    And on topic, I would definitively rate Mick above Ric and Perez. I mean, I like both of them, but they basically struggled as much compared to their teamate as Mazepin and Tsunoda. Sure, in much better car and with much more experience than the 2 young driver, which allow them to score a few good results but over the season, they were miles away. And for the record, I’m looking forward to see a revived Riccardo in the 2022… Pretty sure the 2021 car did not fit his needs….

  7. i would definitely rate Mick above Daniel–objectively and subjectively. That McLaren had so much potential in the first half of the season. Had Daniel scored well, the fight for P3 in the WCC would have gone on until Jeddah if not Abu Dhabi.

    1. @webtel yeah, if the season had of ended after 16 races I’m sure we’d have seen Dan Ric on this list by now. I’m glad he got it together in the end, but it really took some time.

      1. He really didn’t, and finished the season just as far off Norris as he started. Monza was very much an anomaly.

  8. If Schumacher ever matches up to the family and friends PR machine he will be a formidable driver. If…….

    I find the implied nepotism (Schumacher and Stroll, for example) discouraging when there are so many young talented drivers out there who will never get a chance to show. their skills and value while they have listen to the FIA propaganda about equality and open opportunities.

    1. There is zero evidence of this mythical deep well of championship-level talent in the junior formulae that isn’t being exploited by anyone because of scary, mean pay drivers.

      And if you’re not championship-level talent, well, sorry, I couldn’t care less if you make it to F1, mate.

  9. I like Mick, but cmon, he was the driver who caused the most damage by his shunts which were mainly unprovoked, i.e. driver mistakes. He had some really nice races but rating him higher than Latifi who finished 7th in a race in Williams is a bit adventurous.

    1. Mistakes like that only mean the car was really bad (which everyone agreed on) and that he was pushing it to the limit, trying to extract the maximum. It’s inevitable in such circumstances that you get it wrong from time to time. Remember how many crashes Gilles Villeneuve had, especially early in his career, by doing exactly the same. It’s just the quickest way to grow up as a driver, to figure out what the limit is and to expose the flaws of the car. It’s pointless to just cruise around and avoid mistakes, but be much slower than anyone else…

      Mistakes aside, Mick did a stellar job in that car and completely dominated his teammate. There’s nothing more anyone could’ve asked of him. He was definitely one of the better drivers during the 2021 season.

  10. We can’t draw any conclusions from 2021 because the car was just awful and resulted in a lot of crashes from both drivers but with Schumacher seeming to have more of them in the end. If the car was a bit better, I’m sure both drivers will be more consistent.
    Schumacher is hard to read. He works hard and is focused, but is he the most skillful driver out of F2 in recent seasons? Hard to tell.
    He is in that kind of situation where it is difficult to judge him on his own merit as he has a name that comes with massive expectations.

  11. I don’t agree with this rating. Most if not all the drivers had a crash or 2. Whilst it is hard to gauge a driver driving-an undeveloped already bad last season- car he certainly should be above stroll, Raikkonen, and I’d also place Ricciardo in there and potentially Perez who had a few good days but nothing exactly Stellar. Even Vettel who had 2 great drives I’d put behind Mick.

  12. Not about rating but as Mick drove this season Schumacher’s became 13th surname to have at least one race under their belt for 3 drivers.

    Taylor 6
    Fittipaldi 4
    Wilson 4
    Gonzalez 3
    Brabham 3
    Brown 3
    Hamilton 3 (Duncan 1951, Red 1953)
    Hill 3
    Johnsson 3
    Rodriguez 3
    Villeneuve 3
    Rose 3
    Schumacher 3
    Stewart 3
    Winkelhock 3
    Yamamoto 3

  13. I think there’s sometimes a danger of being unconsciously biased for or against a driver because of the perception or what advantages or surname they may be carrying.
    If this was “Mick Brubaker” then would we be talking rookie of the year material?
    Maybe. Maybe not.

    1. Yes, we would, given the rookie class of 2021.

    2. Yes something but his surname doesn’t drive the car its Mick. Even though he is a Schumacher. We have seen it with David (Ralf’s son) being Schumacher doesn’t always give you the red carpet.

  14. I’d put him above both Alfa drivers, Stroll and also Ricciardo.

  15. Mick had a solid season, qualifying dominance and some formidable races too. I rank him 13th overall.

  16. It’s hard to rate the lower part of this list.
    Very different beasts in very different cars.
    The haas was already a bad car last year and its a miracle they performed at any level.
    Mazespin is clear cut. Comparing with latifi is hard and with Yuki even harder. Apples and pears for me looking at the material and team they compete with.

  17. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    6th January 2022, 21:13

    I think this is about right for Schumacher. He didn’t always dominate his team mate, and there were a few occasions where he did a better job.


    Anyone remember these?

    I think it is fair to rate Mazepin last, though I wouldn’t argue with Tsunoda being ranked even with him if I’m honest.

    We also have to say that although Schumacher looks to have the speed, he has crashed far more than mazepin, and caused far more damage cost wise to his car than any other driver, for a team that has the least money to deal with it.

  18. Aislan Pacheco Xavier
    6th January 2022, 23:59

    Mick was top 10 in drivers’ Power Ranking and I agree with them

  19. Resultism, the bane of rankings. What can you do in a Haas?

    Mick’s season has not been perfect. Some rookie errors but also unmistakable brilliance at times.. A solid top 6 by my reckoning. It is very hard to be more precise, for a rookie with a rookie (and pretty awful) teammate and a total dog of a car. Better machinery and teammates will eventually arrive and a more precise ranking will be possible. But #17 is outrageous.

    Rest assured, had the Merc drivers been driving for Haas and vice versa, we would find Mick (and -gasp!- maybe even Nikita??) in the top three, and the Merc drivers near the bottom of this particular ranking. That is resultism for you.

    1. I remember Lewis struggling with McLaren before Mercedes and nobody said anything bad about him.

  20. For a possible reference, here’s the rankings what I found for arguably lead drivers in worst teams in each season:
    2005 Minardi: Christijan Albers 14th
    2006 Super Aguri: Takuma Sato 18th
    2007 Spyker: Adrian Sutil 18th
    2008 Force India: Adrian Sutil 16th
    2009 Toro Rosso: Sebastien Buemi 16th
    2010 HRT: Christian Klien 22nd (Senna 24th with almost full season)
    2011 HRT: Daniel Ricciardo 23rd
    2012 HRT: Pedro de la Rosa 23rd
    2013 Caterham: Charles Pic 20th
    2014 Caterham: Kamui Kobayashi 17th
    2015 Marussia: Alexander Rossi 17th (Stevens 18th with full season)
    2016 Manor: Pascal Wehrlein 17th
    2017 Sauber: Pascal Wehrlein 16th
    2018 Williams: Lance Stroll 18th
    2019 Williams: George Russell 11th
    2020 Williams: George Russell 9th (one race at Mercedes)

    Of course it’s open to debate if all these were the worst cars on the grid. It’s not always the worst team in standings (HRT beat Virgin in 2010-11 due to better reliability and Super Aguri drivers were not involved in end-of-season ranking in 2008)

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