Schumacher gets first taste of W14

Mick Schumacher completes 152 laps at Barcelona, as the German gets his first taste of Mercedes 2023 contender.

Following Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes and Ferrari remained at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to assist Pirelli with two days of testing focused on the development of compounds that can be used without the usual pre-heating procedures.

On Tuesday, Charles Leclerc completed 167 laps of the Spanish track, while the following day teammate Carlos Sainz completed a further 170 laps.

At Mercedes, George Russell, fresh from his podium finish on Sunday, drove the W14 on Tuesday, before handing over to Schumacher for the final day.

“It was great!” said the youngster, who completed 152 laps. “I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun.

“It was a very productive day,” he continued, “we got through everything we wanted to and ran every test tyre on the plan. It was also good to have that first experience of the tyres without any blankets.

“Obviously having not driven in a while, I felt it physically,” he admitted, “but it was good to be back in the driving seat.”

Following Sunday’s race, both Russell and Lewis Hamilton had pair tribute to Schumacher’s contribution to the Barcelona weekend, the youngster having spent Friday evening in the team simulator at Brackley after a disappointing opening day of practice.

Until Wednesday, Schumacher’s experience of the W14 had been limited to the simulator, asked how it compared to the real thing, he replied: “There is obviously a difference between the simulator and driving in the real world. There will always be a difference as the technology is not at a point where you can compare it 100%.

“However, it is the closest experience I’ve had between a simulator and real life. The simulator has prepared me, and the team has made a great effort of correlating it. That helped me to know what to expect when driving it. It’s clear why this team is an eight-time World Champion.

“This experience will definitely benefit me in my role,” he added. “I have a better understanding of what to look out for and what to work on. I also have a better understanding of all the procedures and how the team works trackside. That would be a key factor in case I ever have to jump in and race.

“It was great to drive the new update package,” he concluded. “Of course I hadn’t driven the launch package so I couldn’t make that direct comparison.

“From all the communications I’ve heard from the drivers though, I could feel and agreed with a lot of their comments when driving today. It was very straightforward.”

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