Lewis Duncan

Schumacher: Hamilton fight in Austrian F1 sprint ‘shouldn’t have happened’

The Haas pair raced back in the early stages of Saturday’s sprint contest at the Red Bull Ring as they battled for seventh place.

As Hamilton clung to them in his mercedes in the second half of the race, Schumacher was forced to drive defensively to hold onto eighth place.

But in doing so, he slipped out of Magnussen’s DRS reach and instructed the team to slow the Dane down to restore that advantage to defend against Hamilton.

Hamilton eventually took eighth from a disgruntled Schumacher, who feels Haas should have swapped him with Magnussen sooner as he was “a bit quicker”.

“Yeah, I think it’s something to discuss,” Schumacher told Sky F1 when asked about his race.

“Obviously I think the battle with Lewis was fun, but in the first place it shouldn’t have happened.

“I think in a way I was a bit quicker.”

When asked if he thought he should have been allowed to move ahead of Magnussen, Schumacher replied ‘yes’, before responding the same when asked if the team had declined the trade when he asked.

He also believes he ‘saved’ Magnussen from being attacked by Hamilton and believes he could have gone after him. Alpineit is Stephen Ocon in the sixth, Haas had swapped cars.

“I think I had more pace to be up front,” Schumacher said.

“It’s something to watch maybe for me to understand why we didn’t swap positions, because I felt I probably could have attacked Esteban up front.

“Somehow I was saving her [Magnussen’s] end of Lewis’ attack.

“I was actually hoping he would back down, which I think didn’t happen. So that left me vulnerable then to the DRS [of Hamilton].”

Schumacher is being investigated for a starting line breach by the stewards, but is unsure what he did wrong.

“There’s one thing I can think of is that I burned out in front of Kevin, but I let it pass,” he added.

“So other than that, I don’t really know if there’s anything I did wrong. I don’t think, maybe I was out of position, but I don’t know.

Magnussen says his team hasn’t asked him to move, while saying Haas “really can’t be disappointed” with seventh and ninth in the sprint – which will translate into their starting positions for the GP of Sunday Austria.

“I don’t know, obviously I can’t hear what Mick is saying,” he said when asked about Schumacher’s comments.

“But it was a great day for us, we scored points, we start 7th and 9th tomorrow for the main race.

“We really can’t be disappointed with this in any way.”

Magnussen added that he thought he “had a problem” in FP2 as the “balance seemed off” in the car, before his Haas team addressed the issues with setup adjustments for the sprint.

“I thought we had a problem this morning,” Magnussen said.

“The pace didn’t seem right and the balance seemed off balance. Then we made some changes, but we are limited because of parc fermé.

“So you can change the configuration, you can change the front flap and the side system type.

“The balance has returned and we’ve found a lot of rhythm since this morning, so I’m very happy.”

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