After crossing the line last in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mick Schumacher took little comfort in the knowledge that he had made a far more successful debut than his father, seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
By finishing 16th in his first outing for the Haas team, he was last of the classified runners, but beat his fellow-rookie team-mate Russian Nikita Mazepin, who spun and crashed out at the third corner of the opening lap.
Mick’s father Michael also failed to complete a lap in his maiden race when he suffered a clutch failure on the opening lap of the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. He had, however, done enough in qualifying seventh in his only race for Jordan to secure an immediate move to Benetton.
“Overall, I’d say I was 90% happy and 10% not,” said Schumacher after the season-opener. “I made a mistake, a spin, at the Safety Car re-start, but I learned a lot.
“I was lucky the car was still driveable and everything was alright so I could keep going and continue to build up experience through the whole weekend.
“It was just a shame that I wasn’t able to run in the pack and, at least, try to be close to the guys for a few laps.”
He added that one thing irritated him – the fireworks that went off when Lewis Hamilton won the race for Mercedes, while Schumacher was trailing in a lap behind.
“The fireworks were annoying and distracted me,” he said.
The best performance from the 2021 intake of F1 rookies came from the diminutive Japanese Yuki Tsunoda, 20, who was the 65th driver to score points on his debut as he finished ninth for AlphaTauri. The last debutant to finish in the points was Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne for McLaren in 2016.
Tsunoda started 13th, dropped to 15th and then fought back, passing the oldest and most experienced driver Kimi Raikkonen, 41, of Alfa Romeo, for 10th and then Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll for ninth on the final lap.
“I’m glad to get points,” he said. “I lost positions on the first lap. That was my big mistake and I had to recover from there so I’m happy 50 per cent, but still 50 per cent...it was my big mistake.
“So, first points feel ok, but I think there is a lot of space to improve this race in Imola.”
His success made him the eighth Japanese driver to score points in F1, after Shinji Nakano, Ukyo Katayama, Aguri Suzuki, Kazuki Nakajimi, Satoru Nakajima, Takuma Sato and Kamui Kobayashi.
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