Start of the Formula 1 final: Vettel is surprised, Schumacher can hope

Kick-off for the Formula 1 final
Vettel is surprised, Schumacher can hope

Sporting, Sebastian Vettel’s last Formula 1 race is no longer about anything. Instead, the 35-year-old is happy with the helmets the competition is celebrating him with and invites them to have their picture taken. Mick Schumacher’s new track is approaching and Max Verstappen sets Friday’s best time.

Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher should not expect any positive surprises at their farewell performances in Abu Dhabi. The four-time Formula 1 world champion Vettel, who contests his 299th and final Grand Prix on Sunday (2 p.m. / Sky and in the live ticker on ntv.de), finished twelfth in free practice in the Aston Martin. Mick Schumacher, who had to leave his cockpit at Haas for Nico H├╝lkenberg at the end of the year, was 17th.

But Schumacher has long kept his eyes peeled for other options in Formula 1 – and the top team Mercedes continues to send positive signals about a possible employment, at least as a replacement driver. “The Schumacher family is closely related to Mercedes. He is German, he fits the star incredibly well. He deserves a place in Formula 1. Now we have to see what we can do,” Mercedes Motorsport director Toto Wolff told Sky – Microphone.

The best time was secured by world champion Max Verstappen, who can extend his Formula 1 record to 15 victories this season. In 1:25.146 minutes, the Dutch Red Bull star was 0.341 seconds faster than Brazilian winner George Russell (Mercedes) in his best lap and was almost half a second ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who finished second in the race with Verstappens. world Championship. Mexican teammate Sergio Perez goes into the last race of the season. Perez finished fifth behind record world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Eight drivers make room

For 35-year-old Vettel, where he won his first title in 2010, it is only marginally about the sporting side. He knows his “last race probably won’t be the highlight of my career,” he said. There is a lot of room for emotions. Father Norbert Vettel surprised his famous son in the team garage with the first racing helmet, the first racing gloves and the first overall. Mick Schumacher and Fernando Alonso wore helmets in the typical Vettel design: white with black, red and gold.

Vettel, on the other hand, had an appointment with all his driver colleagues for dinner on Thursday, and for Saturday evening he invited the entire paddock to run one last lap around the track with him and take a giant group photo. “This is Sebastian’s way of saying goodbye to everyone who has been part of his Formula 1 journey,” said Aston Martin.

The first practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit at noon still had a manageable value. Eight regular drivers – including Verstappen and Schumacher – had to give up their cockpits in FP1 to junior staff or reserve drivers. Vettel finished sixth and initially gave hope for a good finish. In the second unit, the impression was put into perspective.

One of the eight Friday drivers was Logan Sargeant in the Williams. The traditional British team has promised the American the last remaining regular cockpit for 2023. However, Sargeant still has to score the necessary points for the super license at the end of the Formula 2 season, also next weekend in Abu Dhabi. He is third in the championship, with a sixth place in the final standings the calculations would be over. But if he fails, Schumacher can still hope for a permanent place next year. Otherwise, the Mercedes option remains.

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