Mick Schumacher clocks second fastest time in Ferrari test debut
Son of seven times world champion tests SF90 in Bahrain
Mick Schumacher walks out of the Ferrari garage during testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick, has made a hugely successful debut driving a Formula One car in a test for Ferrari. The 20-year-old completed 56 laps in Bahrain and was second fastest behind Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. Fernando Alonso also returned to F1, conducting a tyre test for Pirelli in the McLaren at the Sakhir circuit.
Mick Schumacher, who won the F3 championship last season, is a member of the Ferrari driver academy and is racing in F2 this season for the Prema team. He finished eighth and sixth in the opening two races of the season in Bahrain last weekend. Ferrari was the team with which his father won five consecutive world championships between 2000 and 2004.
The youngster took to the Ferrari SF90 for his maiden F1 drive on Tuesday morning on a day when running was interrupted by rain. By the close he was swapping fastest laps with Verstappen, who is still only 21 but in his fifth season in the sport. The Dutchman’s best lap time was 1min 29.379sec, with Schumacher’s 0.6 seconds back. The pair were the only two to register times under 1 minute 30 seconds.
Thirteen years after his father last drove for the Scuderia, Schumacher Jr said he quickly felt at home with the team and relished his first F1 drive. “I really enjoyed today,” he said. “It felt like home in the garage from the very first moment with a lot of people that have known me since I was very young. The SF90 is incredible because of the power it has, but it is also smooth to drive, and that’s why I enjoyed myself so much.
“I was impressed by the braking power an F1 car has. It seemed to me you could brake later and later and the car would have made the turn anyway. I would like to say thank you Ferrari for this incredible opportunity.”
Michael Schumacher suffered a severe skiing accident in 2013 from which he is still in recovery. He won seven world championships but enjoyed his greatest success with Ferrari, for whom he drove between 1996 and 2006. Schumacher Jr first took to the wheel in karting in 2008. He drove his father’s 1994 title-winning Benetton at Spa in a demonstration last year but Tuesday was his first time in a contemporary F1 car. He will conduct a further test on Wednesday, for Ferrari’s partner team, Alfa Romeo.
Lewis Hamilton, who won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, completed the most laps, 71, and was sixth fastest. His compatriot Lando Norris, a superb sixth in the race, was third fastest for McLaren. Another Briton, George Russell, was last on the timesheets for Williams but will test the Mercedes on Wednesday.
Alonso retired from F1 in 2018 but remained as an ambassador and advisor to McLaren and was conducting the Pirelli tyre test in this capacity. He has been clear he wants to help the team develop the car and has not ruled out a return to F1 in future.
It was the first time Alonso had driven an F1 car since last year’s final race at Abu Dhabi. He completed 64 laps, was 11th fastest and he was impressed with this year’s model.
“It’s a step forward in every aspect,” he said. “I think the car has more grip, is less draggy on the straights, and the engine is a bigger step better as well.” – Guardian