Mick Schumacher says he had the potential to make it into the top 10 during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the Haas driver lining up 12th on the grid following a small mistake on his last flying lap.
Saturday's qualifying session in Sakhir marked a huge step forward for the team, with returnee Kevin Magnussen making it through to Q3, in which he posted the seventh-fastest time.
Speaking after the session, Schumacher reckons he could easily have joined his new teammate in the pole position shootout.
"I guess I tried a bit too much," Schumacher told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"[I made] a mix-up at Turn 11, which was unfortunate. I wasn't sure if it was enough for Q3, but we definitely had the car to do that, so it's a bit gutting."
Despite his disappointment, 12th still represents Schumacher's highest-ever starting position, after his Haas team spent last season largely confined to the back row of the grid.
Haas bounce back with a new car and new line-up
F1's rules reset for 2022 has coincided with a return to form for the American-led outfit, and though Haas's pace at Bahrain has surprised many observers, Schumacher insisted that the team were always confident of the VF-22's potential.
"We knew what this package has," he commented, looking back on pre-season testing.
"We just didn't know how much the others were holding back, and seemingly we had a good [analysis] of things, and we knew that we had the potential to be in Q3."
Schumacher also paid tribute to new teammate Magnussen, following his standout qualifying performance.
The Dane, who previously drove for Haas between 2017 and 2020, returned to the team and to F1 when Nikita Mazepin was dropped last month, and Schumacher said Magnussen's experience will be useful as Haas look to continue to progress.
"He's been in F1 for some time, and he's driven different cars," added Schumacher.
"He has a broad amount of experience which he can bring to the team and
share detailed information."
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Schumacher sees a huge improvement over last year's car
Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com earlier in the week, Schumacher elaborated on the step forward that Haas had made with their new car, and set his sights on scoring points.
"Looking back to last year, we probably wouldn't have been anywhere close to [this level of performance], so it is definitely a step in the right direction," said Schumacher.
"Last year, we had to be so on it every time, and [be] so perfect.
"Hopefully, this year, that doesn't need to be always the case – [if] you can get away with half [a perfect lap] and still get into Q2, that would be amazing.
"Every part [of the car is better]. The car was quite difficult to drive last year, and it just comes easy now. So it's a very, very positive part of it."
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