Scoring back-to-back points after 14 months out of Formula 1, Ralf Schumacher says Kevin Magnussen is a “world class” racer.
Magnussen was a late call-up for this year’s Formula 1 World Championship, the Dane re-signing with Haas after the team had parted ways with Nikita Mazepin.
That meant he had just one day in the car before the season began and Magnussen made his return to the sport after a year away.
He finished fifth in Bahrain before following that up with another two points at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, P9 on the night despite feeling as if his neck would “break” given the G-forces at the high-speed street circuit.
Scoring 12 points for Haas, he has single-handedly put them P5 in the Constructors’ Championship.
Former F1 driver turned commentator Ralf Schumacher can only applaud that.
“Kevin has always been super-fast,” he told F1-Insider.com. “But I think he took the next step during the year’s break. I tip my hat to him.
“How he got the maximum out of the car, both in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, despite having major technical problems in free practice there…that is absolutely world class.”
Some brilliant racing between K-Mag and the 7x World Champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday! 😮👏#HaasF1 #SaudiArabianGP pic.twitter.com/okaoOqPml0
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 29, 2022
The German is hoping Magnussen’s performances push his team-mate, and Schumacher’s nephew, Mick, on to greater things.
“Mick can now take his cue from him,” said Schumacher. “If he is on an equal footing with him, he has done a great job.”
But already there are questions about how Magnussen’s points-scoring results are impacting his younger team-mate.
Up against the 29-year-old, a more formidable and experienced team-mate than his previous colleague Nikita Mazepin, Christian Danner wonders if that played a role in Schumacher’s horror Q2 crash in Saudi Arabia.
“It was really a shocking moment,” Danner, who finished fourth in the 1989 United States Grand Prix in Phoenix from 26th on the grid, told Sport1.de.
“A result of the pressure his new team-mate is putting on him. The bar is much higher there.
“The great thing is he accepts the challenge.”
Schumacher was taken to hospital for precautionary tests after his high-speed crash but thankfully walked away unhurt.
However, he did not take his spot on the Saudi Arabian grid, the driver saying that was more of a spare parts issue than a worry about his health.
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