Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Haas’ Mick Schumacher says he felt comfortable throughout his practice run as he starts his F1 career.
Mick Schumacher was brought in to the Haas team for first practice at Yas Marina. Having been promised the first practice session at the Nuburgring in October, both he and Callum Ilott had to sit out the session as rain stopped the track action from happening. After wrapping up the Formula 2 title in Bahrain last week, Schumacher flew to Abu Dhabi to join up with the team that he will race for in Formula 1 next season.
Stepping into Kevin Magnussen’s Haas for the first session, Schumacher put in 23 laps of Yas Marina during the first practice session, with a best time of 1:41.235 placing him in P18. This time was 3.8 seconds away from the fastest time set by Max Verstappen.
“I would say things went pretty smoothly today in FP1.” said Schumacher afterwards. “I was getting used to the car – it’s such a big step from Formula 2 up into Formula 1, but I’m happy everything went well. I felt comfortable with every switch and then every switch change in the car.”
“I started off on the hardest compound and got to do a few consecutive laps which was really good, every lap really counts as you’re building up the pace and learning where you can push into each corner. It was really just a matter of time and getting the laps in. We then went onto the softer tyre, which was a huge jump – the difference in compound is something you really feel strongly.”
Schumacher will be driving the Haas VF20 again on Tuesday, as he’s confirmed for the Young Driver Test on that day. The German driver says he’s looking forward to it, as there’s still lots for him to learn as he kicks off his career in the top flight.
“The Young Driver test is really going to be for me to work on certain things such as long runs which are very important. Really on some starts and just really get used to the team and familiarise with the car. The high-fuel runs were quite different to everything I’ve done before.” Schumacher continued.
“Up until now I’ve only driven an F1 car on low fuel so it was definitely information and valuable time for me in the car to feel how much can I brake, and how much can I push still. And my practice start actually went really well for my first start in an F1 car, so happy with that.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner praised Schumacher for his steady approach to his first session at a Grand Prix: “He did a good job this morning for his first time in our car. I think it’s fantastic to have Mick Schumacher participating in his first grand prix weekend in our car – that’s great for everyone at Haas F1. He did a solid job, he did what he was supposed to do, and he kept his nose clean. I think he learned a lot over the 90-minutes. We’re looking forward to Tuesday’s test with him.”