Mick Schumacher described his first run in a modern Formula 1 car as “astonishing” after ending up second on the time sheets for Ferrari on the opening day of testing in Bahrain.
The 20-year-old was making his debut during an official test session for the same team with which his father Michael won five of his seven drivers’ titles. He will get a second run on Wednesday in an Alfa Romeo.
Rain disrupted the middle of the day but Schumacher was able to complete 56 laps and says the first few miles in the SF90 were a special experience.
“The emotions, I can tell you, were really nice,” Schumacher said. “It was feeling like home already. It was beautiful to make those first laps and to see all those guys working on the car and working with me. I felt very comfortable and felt at home.
“It was astonishing, the feeling I had going out, and the first time on the throttle was… this thing has so much power! I felt good and there is so much potential in the car with the speed through the corners and in traction it is hard to describe and I am sure there is a lot more to come.
“You can brake later and later and later, and the car will still stop in the same way. It was crazy, really.
“I would say braking [was the biggest lesson]. It was really hard to find the limit, the limit just got further and further into the corner. I was feeling like I could have braked at the 50 meter board at Turn 1, but obviously that’s not possible. I was trying every run to go later and later, and it always went later. That’s why I say there is margin.”
Schumacher nearly topped the times on the first of two days of testing in Bahrain, with Max Verstappen only beating him with five minutes remaining, going 0.6s faster on the C3 compound tire. Schumacher’s Ferrari had run the softest C5s.
“Obviously Max has a lot of experience. Comparing to him, I think we can be very happy,” said Schumacher. “We did our job, and at the end I was very happy about how I felt in the car and how confident I was. I think it was a very good day.”
Schumacher – who made his Formula 2 debut this weekend in Bahrain and scored points in both races – said he was unfazed by the media attention he received ahead of the test.
“I came here to have fun and to enjoy it, and I did that, 110 percent. I guess you can see that I am smiling a lot and I enjoyed it a lot, especially those last laps. With full power and everything it was just amazing… the whole car, just amazing.
“I was so much into the car and really tried to focus on the job I had to do. I was really focused on that, but I tried to enjoy every moment driving out there, and enjoyed working with the team.”