Mick Schumacher said he “enjoyed” his first Formula 1 outing after setting the second fastest time in a Ferrari at the official Bahrain test.
The 20-year-old, son of the seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, completed 56 laps and was set to be fastest until pipped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Schumacher said he found Ferrari’s 2019 car “incredible because of the power it has but it is also smooth to drive”.
He is to have a second test day, this time for Alfa Romeo, on Wednesday.
Like many drivers on their first experience of an F1 car, Schumacher said he had been wowed by the braking capabilities.
“It seemed to me you could brake later and later and the car would have made the turn anyway,” the German added.
A member of the Ferrari driver academy, who was often around the team with his father during his childhood, Schumacher said “it felt like home in the garage from the first moment, with a lot of people that have known me since I was very young”.
Schumacher’s fastest time was 2.11 seconds slower than Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s pole position lap at the grand prix on Saturday.
Schumacher was using tyres two grades softer than Leclerc had, but testing times are notoriously meaningless on their own as teams do not reveal the specifications in which they are running their cars – fuel loads, tyres and engine modes make a significant different to lap times.
Schumacher was 0.597secs behind Verstappen’s fastest time, although the Dutchman was using tyres two grades harder.
Unusually, the test was disrupted by a rain storm in the middle of the day, despite the track’s desert location.
Also in Bahrain, Fernando Alonso made a return to F1 just over four months after leaving the sport, driving the 2019 McLaren as part of a tyre test for supplier Pirelli.
McLaren had asked the two-time world champion, who is an adviser to the team, to drive the car and compare it to last year’s machine, to help them judge the progress they had made after a difficult 2018.
Alonso said: “It’s a step forward in every aspect of the car. The car has more grip, the car is less draggy on the straights, the engine is a big step better as well. Overall, as a package, the car is on the right direction.”
But the 37-year-old said it had not changed his mind about leaving F1.
He said he “doubted” he would ever return but the only thing that might tempt him back would be a title-winning car.
Alonso’s lap time was 0.148secs slower than that set by McLaren race driver Carlos Sainz, who was on a different programme, and 2.827secs adrift of Verstappen’s.
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