Schumacher's son marks anniversary with emotional lap

AP
Mick Schumacher marks the 25th anniversary of his father, F1 great Michael's first GP victory by driving a lap in the German's championship-winning 1994 Benetton car at Spa.
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Reuters

Mick Schumacher drives his father Michael Schumacher's Benetton B194 on the track before the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on August 27, 2017.

Marking the 25th anniversary of Michael Schumacher's first Formula One win, his teenage son Mick drove demonstration laps in an old F1 car ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Schumacher, who is 18, drove 1994 F1 model of the Benetton B194 that his father drove that year to the first of his record seven world championships. The German driver's 91 wins and 68 pole positions are also records, although Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton equaled the qualifying mark on Saturday.

"It was awesome," Mick said after applause from the crowd in Spa. "To be able to drive the F1 car is amazing and I'm really honored."

Michael won his first career race on the vast Spa-Francorchamps track nestled in the Ardennes forest in 1992. He also made his debut there the year before and has a special affinity with the track. He has a record six wins — one more than another F1 great, the late Ayrton Senna of Brazil.

"You can't come to Spa without thinking about Michael," said Ross Brawn, the F1 managing director of motorsports, who was technical director on the Benetton team when Schumacher won in '92. "It was his circuit."

Mick, meanwhile, is driving in the F3 championship, and is touted for a bright future.

Mick, ranked 11th in the F3 championship after a more successful stint in F4, said the 23-year-old car felt unfamiliar.

"You feel that it fits differently, it is not adapted to me. Everything is just that little bit different," Mick said.

The teenager wore a helmet that was made up of both his and his father’s favorite designs. "It’s a piece of history," he said. "I learned a lot from him. I always look back at this career and it’s nice to see what he achieved."

It was while skiing with his teenage son on a family holiday that Michael sustained severe head injuries in France on December 29, 2013. He has been cared for at his home in Switzerland since September 2014.

His accident happened at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps. The avid skier hit the right side of his head on a rock, cracking his helmet. Doctors operated to remove blood clots from his brain, but some were left because they were too deeply embedded.

His condition stabilized after he was placed in a drug-induced coma, from which he later emerged. The current condition of the 48-year-old Schumacher's health remains closely guarded among family and close associates.


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