George Russell fastest on return to Mercedes at Bahrain test


Mick Schumacher made his long-awaited Formula One debut in Bahrain on Tuesday as he began the in-season test for Ferrari.

Schumacher put in 70 laps, fewer than any other driver who was in action across the entire day, and was sixth-fastest on the timesheets, albeit just two hundredths of a second down on his best time from the previous day, where running was affected by a rain storm.

"The first time for him to be in a Formula 1 auto, in a red vehicle, Ferrari, it means a lot to the family and many fans to see the Schumacher name in a red auto".

Drivers who impress in F2 traditionally get granted a chance at F1.

He drove his father's 1994 title-winning Benetton at Spa in a demonstration a year ago but Tuesday was his first time in a contemporary F1 auto.

Mick is now competing in the F2 Championship - the feeder series to F1, where he finished 8th and 6th in his debut races. A move up to F1 in the future will likely depend on how he performs in the feeder series over the rest of the year.

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George Russell topped the second day of this week's in-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit after switching from his regular team Williams to world champions Mercedes for the day. I think time will tell if that's next year, if that's the years to follow, really.

And his pal four-time F1 champ Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said: "Obviously, with the name and being the son of Michael, there's certainly some links and expectations".

"The SF90 is incredible because of the power it has, but it is also smooth to drive, and that's why I enjoyed myself so much", said Schumacher. His regular F1 ride, the Williams FW42 - is proving to be the worst vehicle on the Formula 1 grid.

Michael Schumacher, who still holds the record of 91 grand prix wins, won five of his titles with Ferrari in a golden period from 2000 to 2004. The Dutchman's best time was 1min 29.379sec, with Schumacher's 0.6sec back. Today, the elder Schumacher remains in recovery following a serious skiing accident in 2013 that left the all-star driver with serious brain damage. He set the ninth fastest time by the end of the day with 135 laps.

Alonso is driving as part of Pirelli's tyre testing programme, though, so will be following its guidance rather than working through McLaren developments.

It is the first serious F1 experience for the reigning European Formula 3 champion and Formula 2 rookie, who drove his father's title-winning 1994 Benetton at Spa in a short demonstration two years ago. He has been clear he wants to help the team develop the vehicle and has not ruled out a return to F1. "I think the vehicle has more grip, the auto is less draggy on the straights".