Damon Hill has praised Mick Schumacher's improvement in form after taking back-to-back points finishes. Schumacher's recent performances have given him his first F1 points at Silverstone, which was followed up by a career-best finish of sixth at the Austrian Grand Prix. Prior to his first points finishes, the Haas driver's season had been memorable for points near-misses, and crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco. F1 World Champion Hill believes Schumacher's turnaround may have been because of the increasing pressure to start improving his results. "Mick Schumacher I think has had a little bit of a spurt or a leap forward," Hill commented on the F1 Nation podcast. "It looked like it was all going south, and then suddenly he's rebounded, he's hit the bottom and bounced like a person on a space hopper. "Something's new, something's different, something's better, and sometimes it can be caused by staring into the abyss of the reality of our sport; you could find yourself not in Formula 1. That can spur you on."
Schumacher finding his feet in F1
Last season was Schumacher's first in F1, and he was paired with Nikita Mazepin in an uncompetitive Haas car. This season, Haas have swapped Mazepin for Kevin Magnussen, who has been an instant success on his return to the team. Prior to Schumacher's points successes, there had been an increasing number of question marks over his ability to match Magnussen, who had scored all of Haas' points prior to the British GP. Magnussen has had the qualifying pace over Schumacher, but the number of places between them on the grid has reduced race-by-race. Along with Magnussen, Schumacher has reached Q3 in two of the last three races. The improvement in form also extended to race pace. Most recently in Austria, Schumacher was frustrated at being unable to pass Magnussen in the Sprint, before doing so during a strong Grand Prix performance.
Hill: A stronger teammate has helped Schumacher
Hill continued to say that a combination of slow development, plus the introduction of a newer, faster teammate is likely to have been a wake-up call to Schumacher. "I think that in his F2 season he looked like he was a slow burner, a slow learner, but he got there in the end," added Hill. "If you compare him to his dad, Michael arrived and he was there [on the pace] straightaway, fully formed. But, give Mick a little bit of a break, I think he's had a lot to deal with growing up. "I think having a teammate like Kevin was suddenly a bit of a shock to the system as well, and sometimes it can set you back, and then you have to regroup, and suddenly you realise, 'Wow, Formula 1 really is the most challenging category of racing'. "The competition is so fierce, it's so intense, but you do have to reset your targets. "You think you're trying your best and you think that you're giving it everything, but then you realise you're actually underperforming to what your true capacity is, and you have to really dig deep in Formula 1, because you will get found out."