Mick Schumacher says he was beginning to push the limits of his Haas Formula 1 car as he made his practice debut on Friday morning at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old German - son of seven-time world champion Michael - followed up being crowned Formula 2 champion last weekend in Bahrain with his first practice session outing for Haas ahead of his graduation to F1 next season with the American squad.

Schumacher was originally scheduled to drive for Alfa Romeo in FP1 in Germany in October but the run was cancelled after poor weather resulted in Friday’s running at the Eifel Grand Prix being abandoned.

He finally got his first chance on Friday in Abu Dhabi and finished 18th in the timesheets, ahead of Haas stand-in Pietro Fittipaldi. 

“Everything went well and I’m really happy with how the session went,” Schumacher said following his maiden FP1 run. “There were no major issues on either side, so I’m really, really happy.

“It was a hell of a ride, it was really fun and great to be back in an F1 car.”

Schumacher revealed he was exploring the limits of his car’s capabilities as well as trying out experiments with his driving style throughout the 90-minute session.

“Obviously you have to also go over the limit sometimes to feel where the limit is,” he added. “For me, it was more about also trying out little things.

“We had a small moment at Turn 1 after pushing on the Softs, which you already start feeling the rears quite well in that moment, so it wasn’t too dramatic but it was also no taking anything much extra into the corners, it was really just trying to see what the car could to do.

“The other moments were again me just trying some different features on driving-style and also the car itself.

“I’m sure that I’ll find my way through much, much easier and also maybe to be able to go more over the limit in order to find it closer in the drive on Tuesday.”

As well as conducting his first practice start on the Yas Marina Circuit grid, Schumacher also got his first proper taste of conducting high-fuel runs, which he described as being “valuable” information.

“The high-fuel was quite different to everything I’ve done before,” he explained. “Up until now I’ve only driven an F1 car on low-fuel so it was definitely valuable information and valuable time for me in the car to feel how much can I brake, and how much can I push still.

“And my practice start actually went really well for my first start in an F1 car, so happy with that.”

Schumacher will get another chance to get up to speed with Haas’ VF20 challenger in next week’s post-season young drivers test in Abu Dhabi.

The German says he is looking to make the most of the time he has in the car with a cut-back pre-season testing programme ahead of his rookie F1 campaign in 2021.

“Any running is good running and great preparation for me next year, so it is now to really get that first taste, and then the young driver test is really going to be for me to work on certain things such as long runs which are very important,” Schumacher said.

“Hopefully on some starts and just really get used to team and familiarise with the car.”

 

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