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Mick Schumacher

How Schumacher achieved what his father didn't on his F1 debut

Mick Schumacher might have had a relatively quiet debut race weekend in Formula 1, but the German actually managed to achieve something that his legendary father Michael did not do in his own F1 career.

Analysis
To news overview © Haas

Mick Schumacher arrived into his debut weekend as an F1 driver as perhaps one of the most talked-about rookies in the sport's history. Whilst the German had some impressive career achievements behind him - such as winning the Formula 2 world championship in 2020 - it has been his surname that has proved a star attraction for many fans. Following in the footsteps of his father Michael Schumacher, one of the most successful and legendary drivers to have ever competed in Formula 1, was always going to put Mick in the spotlight.

But even before the first race, it was clear though that the younger Schumacher would not immediately be able to compete at a level where he could rival his father's achievements. The fact that the 22-year-old would be making his debut with the struggling Haas team made it obvious that he would be battling at the back of the field rather than the front, and so proved to be the case at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Yet during the course of his first weekend as a Formula 1 driver, Schumacher quietly managed to achieve something that his father did not in his own F1 debut.

It was a solid weekend for the rookie. After the inevitable media attention in the build-up to the race, Schumacher got his head down during Friday's practice sessions and outpaced teammate Nikita Mazepin on the timesheets. Whilst his father qualified in an impressive seventh place when he entered his first F1 race back in 1991 at the Belgian Grand Prix, this would clearly not be on the cards for Mick, and he finished the session in 19th place. Though yet again, he got the better of Mazepin, who spun twice during Q1 which resulted in the yellow flags being brought out.

On race day itself, Schumacher continued his impressive performance in a difficult car. There was a slight error when the German spun during the safety car restart, but from then on he did all he could to bring the car home. And that he did; Schumacher ended the race in 16th place, only one spot behind four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Over the radio after the final lap, Schumacher's engineer praised the youngster for managing the car. The driver responded by apologising for his spin and giving positive feedback for how the car felt during the stint on the C2 tyre. In fact his only complaint was that the fireworks on the final lap were "irritating".

So Schumacher's race weekend proved to be a much quieter affair than when his father put in a sensational performance in the Jordan at Spa back in 1991. Yet in finishing the grand prix, Mick achieved what Michael did not. Whilst the older Schumacher's qualifying showed his incredible talent - made all the more impressive given that he was brought in at the last-minute as a replacement for Jordan's Bertrand Gachot - he was forced to retire on the first lap of the race due to an issue with the clutch.

That was all it took for Michael Schumacher to make an impression, though, and the German was snapped up by the Benetton team for the next grand prix, with whom he went on to win two of his seven world titles.

Clearly there were some huge differences between Mick and Michael's Formula 1 debuts and the circumstances involved. But the fact that Mick finished his first grand prix in a car that is clearly challenging to handle is a worthy feat. Maybe one day he will go on to match some of his father's accomplishments, but regardless of whether that happens, Mick now has a statistic under his belt that is one of the few his father did not achieve.

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