Mick Schumacher says he is “very annoyed with myself” after losing a likely podium finish when he went off track in the season-opening Formula 2 feature race at the Red Bull Ring.
The Ferrari junior was having by far his best feature race showing in F2 to-date, battling UNI-Virtuosi pairing Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott for the lead following their pit-stops.
When Zhou was slowed by a technical issue, Schumacher was sitting second to Ilott when he went off through the gravel at Turn 7 with less than 10 laps to go following a safety car restart.
He managed to rejoin the race but finished down in 11th place after a late battle with Roy Nissany.
“I am very annoyed with myself that I gave away a possible podium,” said Schumacher, whose Hungary sprint race victory was his only top-three finish in 2019.
“The race had been running almost perfectly up to that point: I had a good start from fifth to third place and also got on very well with the tyres.
“Our strategy fit perfectly and when the safety car came out I was in a promising second place.
“That’s why I still need to look on the bright side for the next races: In terms of speed we’re among the front runners.”
Schumacher’s mistake allowed Prema team-mate and fellow Ferrari protege Robert Shwartzman to finish on the podium in his debut F2 race.
Shwartzman had a close battle with fellow debutant Marcus Armstrong for second place, having earlier lost time in his pit-stop.
“This is a very good result and I’m really happy,” said the Russian.
“We had a good start and stayed close to the leaders in P5. I wasn’t over-pushing at the beginning as I didn’t know how the tyres would perform, so the others pulled away a bit.
“The team decided to go for an earlier pit-stop than the guys in front which would have been a good call. Unfortunately, there was a little delay with the front left tyre, but it happens.
“I exited the pits behind Armstrong with cold tyres and again, not knowing how they would react if I pushed them too much, I tried to take it a little easier and get used to them.
“I was catching Marcus and I tried some manoeuvres, but there wasn’t much difference with the tyres at that point.
“Then the safety car came out, and in the end, we battled again, but being the first race, it was really important to take all the points we could.”