Mick Schumacher felt happy with his own performance during Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, even if his best time was only good enough for nineteenth on the grid.
The Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver was experiencing Qualifying in Formula 1 for the first time on Saturday, although the car he is driving is already proving to be a difficult, and slow, one to drive.
He avoided any mistakes during his runs at the Bahrain International Circuit and ended more than a second ahead of team-mate Nikita Mazepin. He was around eight-tenths of a second down on making it out of Q1.
“I enjoyed the experience a lot,” said Schumacher. “In general, I was happy with my performance today, I’d say I was about 95 percent happy with my lap.
“I had one little moment with it where I felt I could have done better. To be honest, after having had a disruptive run, it was kind of ok. The car had felt good coming from FP3 and the communication with the team was really good.
“There’s definitely room for improvement on my side, so I’m just looking forward to being able to get into another qualifying soon.”
Schumacher says Sunday’s race in the desert is likely to be interesting, with windier conditions predicted. However, his aim is to continue his learning process and get his proper first race distance under his belt.
“The race is going to be interesting as we see how the cars are going to behave in windier conditions,” said the German racer. “My main focus is to learn and to gain experience and build on that for the future.”
“The conditions in qualifying were very tricky” – Nikita Mazepin
Team-mate Mazepin was far from happy with his performance, with two spins leaving him down in twentieth and last on the grid, over a second down on Schumacher.
His first spin on his first run happened when he got caught out by the wind at turn thirteen, while his final run saw him suffer a brake-by-wire issue at turn one. This spin brought out the yellow flags and caused some high-profile names to be eliminated at the first hurdle, including Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel.
Mazepin hopes the brake-by-wire problem will not occur again on race day as he continues to prepare for his first Grand Prix race start as a Formula 1 driver.
“The conditions in qualifying were very tricky, they’d changed a lot from FP3,” said Mazepin. “Obviously, the temperature had dropped down and the wind had turned around, and these Formula 1 cars are very wind-affected.
“I had an issue with my brake-by-wire and I locked-up on the rears at turn one. The pedal just went long, it’s something we need to look into. It wasn’t something I expected, and I hadn’t had it happen before driving in the test here or in practice.
“Hopefully that won’t happen tomorrow. There’s still plenty to look for but this was always going to be difficult coming into qualifying.”