Sunday 26 May 2019

'It felt like home' - Mick Schumacher shines with Ferrari on Formula One testing debut

Mick Schumacher walks in the pit during his first F1 test for Ferrari at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Mick Schumacher walks in the pit during his first F1 test for Ferrari at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Mick Schumacher clocked the second fastest time on his Formula One debut during post-race testing for Ferrari in Bahrain.

The 20-year-old German, whose father Michael won five of his seven world titles with the Italian team, completed a total of 56 laps, as unexpected heavy rain caused delays to the afternoon session.

Once the weather had dried, with around an hour-and-a-half left of the scheduled track time, Schumacher recorded a circuit of one minute 29.976 seconds, which saw him take over at the top of the time-sheet from Romain Grosjean.

However, Max Verstappen, who had finished fourth in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, lowered the mark to 1min 29.379secs during the closing stages, running on C5 tyres.

Schumacher, hoping to one day following his father into F1, is set to drive for Alfa Romeo during Wednesday's test session in the Gulf kingdom.

Speaking to the BBC afterwards, Schumacher said the Ferrari garage 'felt like home'.

"The car is incredible because of the power it has but it is also smooth to drive," he said.

"It seemed to me you could brake later and later and the car would have made the turn anyway.

"It felt like home in the garage from the first moment, with a lot of people that have known me since I was very young".

Lewis Hamilton, who took the chequered flag on Sunday, finished sixth in testing for Mercedes over 71 laps.

McLaren rookie Lando Norris set the third fastest test time, completing 22 laps.

Former two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, also took part in Tuesday's sessions, the second McLaren car being used for a Pirelli tyre test.

The Spaniard, who is set to race for McLaren as he looks to land the Indianapolis 500 title in May, hopes it will not be long before Schumacher gets his shot at a Grand Prix drive.

"It's better to go always as early as you can," Alonso told Sky Sports News. "You never know when the train will come in Formula 1 when you are young.

"He's in F2 this year, that's the full concentration I guess for him to do a good championship.

"If he does well and an F1 team relies on your talent you have to take that train."

Ferrari Academy driver Schumacher made his F2 debut over the weekend with the Prema team and is relishing the opportunities ahead to continue his development.

"I really enjoyed today. It felt like home in the garage from the very first moment with a lot of people that know me since I was very young," the 20-year-old said.

"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 would like to say thank you to Ferrari for this incredible opportunity and I'm looking forward to test the Alfa Romeo tomorrow."

Press Association

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