Mick Schumacher’s sudden dominance in the European Formula Three competition has been questioned by title rival Dan Ticktum.
The son of Formula One legend Michael, Schumacher recently took the championship lead from the Red Bull-backed Ticktum on the back of five wins and a second-place finish in the last six races.
Schumacher stood on those podium alongside Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman, who followed two top-three finishes in the first 21 races of the season with four seconds, a third and a win.
Ticktum, a contender for Red Bull’s Toro Rosso feeder team in Formula One next year, has just two podium finishes since his last win six weeks ago.
The 19-year-old Briton teed off on Schumacher’s rise, making heavy accusations in since-deleted Instagram posts.
“I don’t like pointing fingers at anyone but to be honest, this weekend the pace in the car was not there,” Ticktum wrote.
“Set-up mainly, as in the last race when we got the car better, we were pretty quick climbing from 7th to 4th.
“However compared to the top two no one on this grid had a chance. Even their other teammates who are good drivers were nowhere compared to them.
“Interesting is how I would describe their pace and I am confident many people in the F3 paddock will agree.
“I did the best possible as I always endeavour to do! Thank you to the team as always for their hard work. It’s not over until it’s over and I’ll make sure I arrive at the last round in the best shape I can.”
"However compared to the top 2 no one on this grid had a chance. Even their other team mates who are good drivers were nowhere compared to them."
— Vincent Bruins (@VincentJBruins) September 24, 2018
Ticktum’s veiled criticisms sent racing fans into a frenzy and forced the driver into an attempted clarification that only served to inflame the situation.
“I’m not a sore loser. Neither am I salty. I have a huge respect for Mick, who has dealt with a lot in the past few years,” Ticktum wrote, referencing Michael Schumacher’s health issues.
“I am simply suggesting that (Prema’s pace) seems to have come from nowhere? I never said it was illegal. I appreciate I have lessons to learn still! I’m not denying that.
“You don’t know the real story because you are not at the track looking at everyone’s data. So I’m afraid I have to tell you that your opinion is invalid under these circumstances.
“Unfortunately however I am fighting a losing battle as my last name is not Schumacher.”
Dan Ticktum has well and truly lost his head with his latest Instagram post.
‘Unfortunately however I am fighting a losing battle as my last name is not Schumacher’ 💀 pic.twitter.com/uElY5SZahj
— Chlöe 🦕🐘🦖 (@chloehewitt_) September 24, 2018
Turns out Dan Ticktum is a bit fragile then. Accusing Mick Schumacher and Prema of cheating on his latest instagram post. Red Bull really do start them off early now. 😂 #F3
— Ben Warren (@TBR_Wheels) September 23, 2018
Dan Ticktum needs to stop, clearly Schumacher is in his head and ffs, he needs to get his head screwed on and stop slagging people off on Instagram and plan how tf he can claim the championship!
— ellie (@elliejaneF1) September 24, 2018
Oooof just seen Ticktum's Instagram post and man has infact been rustled by Schumacher. #FIAF3
— Aryan D'silva 🎮 (@GaleRiot07) September 24, 2018
The worst part of Dan Ticktum‘s comments on instagram is that he not only puts doubts on Prema, a well established team but also implies that they are sabotaging their other drivers to make the other two (Robert and Mick) seem better.
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) September 24, 2018