Sakhir (dpa) – The time has come. 30 years after his father Michael, Mick Schumacher will take part in a Formula 1 race for the first time this Sunday (5:00 p.m. CEST). Unlike the later record world champion, the 22-year-old has to tackle his premiere from far behind.
Maybe Sebastian Vettel can help him a little; the Schumacher buddy is in 18th place, one place ahead of him.
From position 1 to position 20 – there is a lot to watch or as Formula 1 wrote: “The first race of the season has many ingredients for a classic.”
18 AND 19 ON THE STARTING LINE: A green Aston Martin, a white hat. Inside Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher. Hardly anyone expected that the 33-year-old four-time world champion would have to start in the immediate vicinity of the eleven-year-old debutant. Only Nikita Masepin – Mick Schumacher’s team mate – was worse than the German duo.
While Vettel will try to make up positions with all his racing experience right from the start, Mick Schumacher’s aim is to survive the always delicate start phase without damage and to drive his first Formula 1 race to the end. “I wouldn’t call it a challenge, I would simply gain experience,” said Mick Schumacher. After only a few hundred meters in Spa in 1991, his father Michael was stopped by a clutch defect.
A FIRST PRE-TASTE: Max Verstappen, the challenger against Lewis Hamilton, the defending champion. It is the duel that many dream of. At least in Bahrain it was clear that the Dutchman’s Red Bull is fast, very fast. The Pole is the best example. Hamilton starts from second place in the Mercedes, from third place Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.
Bad for Verstappen, however: newcomer Sergio Perez, who celebrated his first Formula 1 victory on a shorter track version at the end of last season, did not make it into the top ten in eleventh place. He is missing to put Hamilton and Bottas under tactical pressure. “The fight is on,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff but already.
WHITE, RED OR YELLOW TIRES: Bahrain races are also strategy games. 57 laps on a surface with good tire wear. Manufacturer Pirelli thinks a two-stop strategy is the most likely. However, it then depends on who allows which tires to be fitted and when – softer and thus faster, but also more rapidly degrading or harder and thus longer-lasting, but slower. The Pirelli analysts think: The fastest are two so-called stints on the yellow medium tires of 18 laps plus one on the white hard tires of 21 laps. But if you have to start with the soft ones because you managed to get into the top ten with those in the second qualifying section, all three tire types are recommended: 14 laps on the red soft rubbers, 24 laps on the hard white and 19 on the yellow medium tire.
THE FLAGS: There are plenty of them. Illuminated by the floodlights, which make the 5.412 kilometer long course shine brightly even in the evening local time. But the light doesn’t make life difficult for the driver, it is different when the flags are moving violently. Because it could get pretty windy, if not stormy. Especially Mercedes could hit that, the car does not yet have the stability of its successful predecessor models.
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