Fittipaldi leads championships as Schumacher impresses

Even in a country where motorsport is not the bread and butter of sport enthusiasts, the Schumacher surname is bound to generate interest. Since early this week when it was revealed Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, was going to compete in the final round of the MRF challenge here in the city, there has been a very good buzz around the event across the world.

Mick Schumacher (red car) was happy with his debut, saying: "I am pretty happy, for sure. The two guys ahead were a bit quicker than I was and so they were gone from the start."

Even in a country where motorsport is not the bread and butter of sport enthusiasts, the Schumacher surname is bound to generate interest. Since early this week when it was revealed Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, was going to compete in the final round of the MRF challenge here in the city, there has been a very good buzz around the event across the world.

And on Saturday, the 16-year old German showed glimpses that he is a chip off the old block as he fought his way to a fine third place finish behind pole-sitter Pietro Fittipaldi and Harrison Newey of Britain to round up a podium filled with legendary surnames.

Starting fourth on the grid for the first race, Schumacher made a good start pulling alongside India’s Tarun Reddy who was starting ahead, before losing places in the first corner. But the German driver wasted no time in getting back on the job as accelerated past Tarun on lap four and then got past Alessio Picariello on lap 10 to seal a podium finish in his first outing in this competition.

However, the junior Schumacher was not able to repeat his efforts in the second race as he spun when trying to overtake Tatiana Calderon for third place on lap 12 and had to settle for sixth. After his impressive debut, the 16-year old German said, “I am pretty happy, for sure. The two guys ahead were a bit quicker than I was and so they were gone from the start. I had to pass few people first initially and then I managed to hold the gap with Tatiana who was very quick.”

Bad luck

But it was heartbreak for local boy Tarun, who started on pole for the second race. He soaked up the pressure from Belgian driver Picariello right from the beginning before the duo crashed on lap 17 when the latter tired a non-existent move on the young Indian that ended both their races. The clash helped Russian driver Nikita Troitckii to victory ahead of Newey and compatriot Nerses Isaakyan.

After Saturday’s two races, championship leader Fittipaldi extended his lead over Calderon by 35 points with two more races left on Sunday.

Results: MRF Challenge: Race-1: 1. Pietro Fittipaldi; 2. Harrison Newey; 3. Mick Schumacher; 4. Alessio Picariello; 5. Tatiana Calderon; 6. Tarun Reddy.

Race 2: 1. Nikita Troitckii; 2. Harrison Newey; 3. Nerses Isaakyan; 4. Tatiana Calderon; 5. Pietro Fittipaldi; 6. Mick Schumacher

Championship standings: 1. Pietro Fittipaldi – 207, 2. Tatiana Calderon – 172, 3. Nikita Troitckii – 166, 4. Alessio Picariello – 146, 5. Harrison Newey – 83.