The German top talent will make his first official laps on the Yas Marina track in the Haas, in whose cockpit the 21-year-old will be sitting next year. He immediately achieved success.
The traffic light was still red when Mick Schumacher slowly dived into his cockpit in his new black racing suit. At 1:02 p.m. local time, the wait finally came to an end for the most watched motorsport talent in the world: in the Haas Ferrari with start number 50, the 21-year-old with a German helmet rolled onto the circuit in Abu Dhabi for his first Formula 1 training assignment.
The son of record champion Michael Schumacher drove 22 inconspicuous laps and finished 18th at the end of the first practice session, 3.857 seconds behind the best practice time of Dutchman Max Verstappen in the Red Bull (1: 37.378 minutes).
First debut had to be postponed
World champion Lewis Hamilton, who only got the green light on Thursday evening after surviving a corona infection, finished fifth in the Mercedes, 1,366 seconds behind. Sebastian Vettel started his last race weekend as a Ferrari driver in 14th place (+2.292).
Schumacher was faster on his debut than Pietro Fittipaldi in the second Haas. The Brazilian, grandson of two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, represents France’s Romain Grosjean for the second time after his fire accident in Bahrain. In 2021, Schumacher’s teammate should be Russia’s Nikita Mazepin – if so recent negative headlines do not prevent this.
In fact, Schumacher should have made his debut in Formula 1 training nine weeks ago. At the beginning of October at the Nürburgring, the notoriously freaky weather in the Eifel put a spanner in the works.
Schumacher needs to gain experience
In the second practice of the afternoon, Schumacher hands over de Haas to the Dane Kevin Magnussen, who will contest his last race for the team on Sunday (from 2.10 p.m. in the live ticker on Chillreport). Schumacher will be back in action next Tuesday during the test for young drivers in Abu Dhabi.
Schumacher had a clear mission: testing tires, collecting data for the team and gaining experience. The external conditions with 25 degrees air temperature and bright sun were not exactly representative. Qualifying and the race each begin at dusk and usually take place on desert night under bright spotlights.