The two rookie drivers of the Uralkali Haas F1 Team had reasonably good sessions on Friday at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Italy. Mick Schumacher had a good day with consistent runs in both practice sessions. Nikita Mazepin had a couple of spins during the sessions.
The young Schumacher finished in nineteenth position in both practice sessions on Friday. The German driver has had a steady performance graph even as his team has brought up the rear of the field in the new season. Schumacher was satisfied with his performance on Friday on returning to a track he had last driven in 2016.
Schumacher said: “It was fun, it felt great out there today. The track didn’t change much from 2016, so that was a positive. In terms of feeling and in terms of fun, it was definitely similar to my last visit here back then. The colder conditions today meant we could push a lot more consecutively, which has positives and also negatives.
“The negative just being it’s a cold temperature and it takes ages to warm up the tires. Sometimes even in the long runs its hard to get the temperatures in there and to keep them there is even harder. As a positive it means a lot of laps so I can try a lot of things straight away, especially on the C2 tire. I was really able to find out the limit especially in FP2 and improve with each lap on the C4. The first lap was a warm-up then we went through the run and improved with each lap. For now, we’re quite happy but it only really counts in qualifying.”
Mazepin has had his share of troubles with spins and crashes in the low grip Haas challenger. The Russian brought the first practice session to an end with a red flag after one such spin. Mazepin who is struggling to limit his errors and make progress said: “I think we had a positive day – I really learned a lot about the car. I think I made another very good step forward with the team in terms of understanding what car I want to drive. I had a good lap time in FP1, it was a good quali simulation, I was happy with it.
“I then made a mistake which there was no coming back from, but overall, it was a positive FP1 and then FP2. I’m not leaving anything on the table out there. I wouldn’t want to go to sleep thinking I’ve left some time out there. There’s a balance of course, which I haven’t mastered yet, but we have time. All eyes are on FP3 now – the weekend progresses and I have to keep progressing with it as well.”
The two Haas drivers will hope to stay mistake free and qualify well and finish the race on Sunday.