Mick Schumacher played down any issues with Esteban Ocon after the incident in F1 Bahrain GP, as both reflected on good team performance.

The opening lap of any Grand Prix is always a challenge and everyone wants to have a good and a clean one at that. Nerves and uprightness amongst the grid is so commonplace as everyone will be jockeying for a good position once the five lights go out.

Even though they are amongst the best drivers in the world, it is common for someone to spin or have a shunt. The F1 Bahrain GP saw everyone get away relatively cleanly but at Turn 6, Haas’ Schumacher and Alpine’s Ocon tangled.

The Frenchman tapped the German, sending him into a 360 degree spin, where Schumacher held onto it pretty impressively. Both are good friends off-track and the German wasn’t too fussed about it, considering that he left a gap there.

“The Lap 1 incidents are always close, we’re here to race, we’re not here to not go for the gap as Ayrton would say,” said Schumacher to written media. “Fortunately, I managed to do a 360 out of it and keep going. It’s an unusual place [for a move] but that’s where most of the things happen, it’s when people don’t expect it and he tried to work and sometimes it works, sometimes it might not work.”

It happens but luckily for Schumacher, there was not a lot of damage so he got away.  There appears to be an element of trust too amongst the drivers and that too is good to see. “From purely having a look around the car, I didn’t see any damage,” he said.

“In lap one or two, I saw a big piece of carbon flying around, I don’t know if that was from car ahead or if that was from me. We understand each other well in the car, there’s no problem. I know I laugh about it. I know things happen again, on track I’m a bit gutted. But that can’t change my mental approach to the racing,” summed up Schumacher.

For Haas, who have had to endure so much in the last number of weeks, it ended up a bumper weekend with returnee Kevin Magnussen’s fifth place and Schumacher just out of the points in 11th. So close but his teammates performance must have made him smile.

“Overall, it was amazing,” said Schumacher. “I mean, when I was driving I heard the whole team cheering through the radio and that’s obviously super, super nice to hear and it gives me a lot of confidence also that we have the potential of being consistently in points and hopefully with two cars at that time too.

“Seeing Kevin in P5 means we have the car to do this, and that I can do the same. That also means we are close to podiums if there’s a crazy weekend, which there usually is in Formula 1, so we should be able to do that,” summed up Schumacher, whom Ocon did apologise readily when they both entered the parc ferme after the grand prix.

Ocon finished a fighting seventh place ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso, in the aftermath of his lap one moment with Schumacher. The Frenchman looked to have better pace than his teammate despite not having the new sidepod.

“I am pretty happy with the end result, pretty happy to be scoring with both cars,” said Ocon. “The only thing to take away from this race was contact with Mick. I have only to apologise, it was my bad so it’s a shame about that first lap incident but from then on the pace was amazing.

“We were coming back up and making some nice overtaking manouveres.  Some good strategy as well with 3 stops and for me it’s a first.  For the team, its not often that we have races like that so it was good fun and we executed nicely so a good race,” summed up Ocon.

As noted, it was a good day for Alpine with both Ocon and Alonso in the points and coupled with the impressive performances from Haas and Alfa Romeo, that “second-tier” trio from last season; Alpine, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri have been joined by the two more teams in that group. It is early days but it looks competitive there right now.

Here’s the incident between Mick Schumacher and Esteban Ocon: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2022-bahrain-grand-prix-ocon-taps-schumacher-into-360-spin-on-lap-1.1727832848639814184.html

Here’s parc ferme onboard video: https://twitter.com/F1/status/1506258141683458049?s=20&t=wp-J7RgBj3wZlfek3tCpLA

Here’s Kevin Magnussen on Top 5 finish