MRF Challenge: Schumacher clocks fastest time in practice session

On a day when drivers spent more time familiarising themselves with the circuit, Mick Schumacher warmed up by setting the fastest time in the practice sessions of the MRF Challenge 2016 season opener in Bahrain on Thursday.

Mick Schumacher clocked 2:00.467s in the free practice 2 session to better the timing set by Estonian driver Ralf Aaron.   -  Getty Images (File Photo)

On a day when drivers spent more time familiarising themselves with the circuit, Mick Schumacher warmed up by setting the fastest time in the practice sessions of the MRF Challenge 2016 season opener here on Thursday.

The German driver, son of legendary Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, clocked 2:00.467s in the second free practice session to better the timing set by Estonian driver Ralf Aaron (2:01.263s), who was fastest in the first free practice session.

In the opening practice session, Harrison Newey first led the pack, clocking 2:02.449s, but Schumacher (2:01.370) and later Newey himself (2:01.263s) bettered it. However, the session ended with Ralf Aron clocking the fastest time on the last timed lap with a timing of 2:01.444.

In the second practice session, Mawson first set the pace with 2:01.783, which was bettered by Schumacher, who clocked 2:00.467. Mawson later improved his timing to 2:00.566s to come second while Ralf Aaron was third in 2:00.889s.

Updated car

All the competitors were driving the updated MRF 2000 car which had an updated engine and aerodynamic design. "It is my first time driving here. So I spent the first few laps familiarising with the circuit which I really enjoyed. The car is a step forward from last year’s car and I felt comfortable straightaway. I was happy with how today went but it is time is to focus on qualifying and race for tomorrow,’’ said Mick Schumacher.

Harrison Newey was also happy with the updated car. "The updated car is definitely a step forward. You can feel the engine and braking is much better. The car is also lighter so finding a right balance is easier. I am happy with practice today and look forward to getting up there in qualifying tomorrow," he said.

The qualifying round was postponed to Friday to enable drivers to get more time to familiarise with the circuit and the machines. The qualifying round, and Race 1 and Race 2 will be held on Friday.

Best timings

Practice session 1:

1. Ralf Aron (2:01.144s), 2. Harrison Newey (2:01.263s), 3. Mick Schumacher (2:01:370s), 4. Juri Vips (2:01.699s), 5. Kimi Schramim (2:01.738s).

Practice session 2:

1. Mick Schumacher (2:00.467), 2. Joey Mawson (2:00.566s), 3. Ralf Aron (2:00.889s), 4. K. Van Kalmthout (2:01.225s), 5. Manuel Maldonado (2:01.717s).