Mick Schumacher enjoyed his first day of free practice in Bahrain on Friday, with the first session being held in conditions he had not previously experienced in Formula 1 to date.
The temperature at the Bahrain International Circuit was new to the Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver, but he was able to adapt and set the nineteenth fastest time overall. In the evening session, conditions changed but Schumacher was able to improve and place eighteenth.
Schumacher says there is still things for him to improve on heading into the rest of the weekend, but he says he already feels comfortable behind the wheel of the VF-21.
“FP1 was in really hot conditions, which was something I hadn’t really experienced yet,” said Schumacher. “It was cooking the tyres up, and obviously the cockpit as well. But it was good for learning – understanding how the car behaves in those conditions.
“Moving into FP2, we knew the conditions would be completely different. Unfortunately, the wind also changed, it was something that everybody had to get used to and some people were struggling with it – so were we.
“Once we got the info on how to approach the corners everything then seemed a bit better. The long run was also interesting for us, and it was more mileage for me really. I felt comfortable in the car, which is a good sign and shows that we did enough work to prepare myself to get in and be comfortable.
“I know there’s a lot to improve from my side still, as a driver I know I have the tools to improve the lap time. I’ll be working hard on myself to keep improving and keep learning.”
“On the technical side the day was quite challenging” – Nikita Mazepin
Team-mate Nikita Mazepin was also participating in his first practice sessions of his Formula 1 career, although he was not able to bring himself off the bottom of the timesheets in either session.
Mazepin said the whole day in Bahrain was difficult and challenging, particularly on the technical side, but he knows the experience will be beneficial to him in the long run ahead of what is expected to be a twenty-three-race season.
“It was very special for me to take part in my first FP1 and FP2 sessions,” said Mazepin. “That alone was very positive. On the technical side the day was quite challenging.
“There’s been a lot of wind around, and it wasn’t very consistent. These cars, compared to Formula 2, are much more effective with the wind in a positive way and also in a negative way. The car was quite difficult at times.
“Being realistic, we were very fortunate with the conditions achieved on the final day of testing, they were very fast. The track today was much slower and that made driving today much more challenging – for us at least.
“With 23 rounds you’re going to experience very different things. It’s about getting the most experience banked and that’s definitely happened today.”