The driver coach who has worked with Mick Schumacher at the Ferrari Driver Academy admits being surprised by how quickly the German has been able to outpace Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin.
Jock Clear was anticipating Mazepin being quicker in qualifying in the first races of the 2021 F1 season due to the fact that Schumacher has often taken a bit of time to get up to speed when entering a new category. However, the 22-year-old immediately outperformed Mazepin and Clear has been impressed by this progression.
"Yes [I've been pleased with his progress this year], and somewhat surprised," Clear told the Beyond The Grid podcast. "[At the Ferrari Driver Academy] we've worked with him for a while, so we know him quite well.
"It will be no surprise to him to hear that often the criticism that was levelled at him in the smaller formulae was [that] he takes quite a while to get up to speed. He's not someone who's going to get in it and bam, and you're like, 'Wow, this kid's quick'.
"But give him a second year in the formula and he really starts to come good, and his consistency shows through. Actually, I'm quite impressed with his out-and-out speed this year, to be honest.
"People said to me at the beginning of the year, 'How's he going to get on against Mazepin?' And I said, 'Well I wouldn't be surprised if Mazepin actually starts off out-qualifying him a few times because Mick takes a while to get up to speed'.
"But actually, not the case, and Mick's continued to make good progress in that area."
Clear has praised Schumacher for acting on the areas that they felt he could improve on.
"It was an area that we identified, and it's an area that Mick has addressed," Clear – who previously worked with Mick's father Michael Schumacher – explained.
"I think that is his best trait at the moment. You tell him something once, and he's on it and he deals with it. And you're like, 'Oh my god, he's fixed it.'
"That will serve him very, very well. Intelligent drivers are such a pleasure to work with and they are fundamentally self-motivating, because as soon as you give them something to learn or something to improve, and they do so, they just get even more engaged."