It was a chaotic first outing at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari for Free Practice today, with spins, collisions, and technical issues affecting a number of teams.
The Haas rookies ended up at the bottom of the timesheets across the morning and afternoon sessions, with Nikita Mazepin suffering a number of spins throughout the morning.
FP1 saw Mazepin and Schumacher run identical tyre strategies according to the team.
Mazepin set a fastest lap of 1:18.823s before he took a spin on the last lap exiting the final turn, resulting in contact with the barrier – bringing about a second red flag in the final minute.
Schumacher ended FP1 in 19th overall, completing 9 laps on the soft Pirellis and clocking a best lap of 1:19.480s.
This afternoon, Schumacher was first out the garage, clocking a personal fastest lap of the session on soft Pirellis of 1:17.350s, which would place him 19th on the timesheet.
The team confirmed that Mazepin’s late return to the track in FP2 was a result of “a precautionary gearbox change, following his off in FP1”.
The Russian driver’s best lap was 1:17.857s and put him in 20th place overall at the end of day one.
Speaking after both practice sessions today, Mazepin acknowledged his mistakes but holds strong in saying it was a positive learning curve:
“I think we had a positive day – I really learned a lot about the car.
“I think I made another very good step forward with the team in terms of understanding what car I want to drive.
“I had a good lap time in FP1, it was a good qualifying simulation, I was happy with it. I then made a mistake which there was no coming back from, but overall, it was a positive FP1 and then FP2.
“I’m not leaving anything on the table out there. I wouldn’t want to go to sleep thinking I’ve left some time out there.
“There’s a balance of course, which I haven’t mastered yet, but we have time. All eyes are on FP3 now – the weekend progresses and I have to keep progressing with it as well.”
Meanwhile, Schumacher reflected on the day’s learnings, saying he’s “quite happy”:
“It was fun, it felt great out there today. The track didn’t change much from 2016, so that was a positive.
“In terms of feeling and in terms of fun, it was definitely similar to my last visit here back then.
“The colder conditions today meant we could push a lot more consecutively, which has positives and also negatives. The negative just being it’s a cold temperature and it takes ages to warm up the tires.
“Sometimes even in the long runs its hard to get the temperatures in there and to keep them there is even harder.
“As a positive it means a lot of laps so I can try a lot of things straight away, especially on the C2 tire.
“I was really able to find out the limit especially in FP2 and improve with each lap on the C4.
“The first lap was a warm-up then we went through the run and improved with each lap. For now, we’re quite happy but it only really counts in qualifying.”