Schumacher lauds 'huge competition' in MRF Challenge
Mick Schumacher has heaped praise on the competition in the India-based international MRF Challenge following on from his debut in the series in Chennai.
The 16-year-old notched up two podium finishes at the Madras Motor Race Track, fighting against Formula 3 drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Tatiana Calderon, experienced campaigner Alessio Picariello and fellow F4 graduate Harrison Newey.
"It is important to just keep on driving because you never get out of the flow and to keep on driving, that really helps," said Schumacher.
"There is a huge competition [in the series] for sure, the drivers are really experienced.
"Its great to drive with them, to get the experience and it's good to drive in hot weather because at home it's cold now, so we can't run as much as we do here."
The German showed composure in the first race when he was pushed off on the grass early on but eventually made it to the podium after an impressive drive.
"It was really a good race, the start was a bit unfortunate, to avoid a crash I had to go on the grass, I lost a few positions and at the end I just caught up again, passed and got on the podium," he said.
In the second race, as Motorsport.com columnist Calderon explained, the two drivers came together, denying both a possible shot at victory.
While Calderon believed Schumacher should have been more careful, the German said that there was a rare opening on a track where overtaking is difficult.
"Its really hard to follow in this track because of the long quick corners, you need the downforce and not many spots to overtake," said Schumacher in his defence.
"So, I had to try and unfortunately, it didn't work. If you have to win, you have to push, you have to try something.
"That's what I did, I tried it, this time it didn't work, next time it will."
A good look at Schumacher's performances in MRF – and throughout his full-time ADAC F4 campaign – suggests the German is already a rather rapid open-wheel racer, even if he's still very much a raw product.
The pressure on the 16-year-old is understandably huge, but he's been handling it well for now.
His debut in MRF – an unfortunate tangle with Calderon notwithstanding – was impressive stuff, it being his first time in the F2000 cars, against vastly more experienced drivers and on a track he was totally unfamiliar with.
In ADAC F4 – a decisively cutthroat series that in 2015 boasted massive depth in both grid quantity and talent – he was solid, if not necessarily superb.
Very quick at Oschersleben – which, luckily for him, the series visited twice – he seemed to struggle more on other tracks and often had to fight his way up the order after qualifying troubles.
Because of that, or perhaps because of the fact the cameras were often disproportionately focussed on him specifically, Schumacher was often found right in the thick of it, authoring several great moves but also quite a few incidents – albeit a fair proportion of them were not his fault.
Arguably, that ADAC F4 field featured rookies who impressed more than Schumacher in Mike David Ortmann, Guan Yu Zhou, or David Beckmann - the undisputed star among the newcomers.
But none of them had to put up with as much pressure or attention as Mick and, given all that he's having to deal with, he's certainly doing a fine job.
Valentin Khorounzhiy and Stefan Ziegler
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