F1: Michael Schumacher and his son Mick's first career race win have a lot in common
Michael Schumacher is a name that has been synonymous with Formula One glory over the past few decades, and while the legendary driver is battling a serious injury at the moment, he will be proud to learn that his legacy is being kept well and truly alive by his talented first-born in young Mick Schumacher.
Schumacher Jr. won his first ever Formula 3 race this past week and did it in somewhat familiar fashion. It was a feeling of deja vu for veteran racing fans, who witnessed Michael Schumacher win his first ever F1 race at Spa in Belgium back in 1992, and were treated to a new generation of Schumacher winning at the same circuit twenty-six years on.
It was a crowning moment for the 19-year-old kid who has spent much of his time in F3 under the shadow of his father who accomplished so much in his career, not least his seven World Championships in F1, a record that stands till date.
There were a number of similarities between Mick's victory on Saturday and his father's all those years ago. For starters, none of them actually began the final race on the front row of the grid. In 1992, Michael Schumacher actually started third on the grid, with Nigel Mansell taking pole position. His son Mick began race three even further back at sixth on the grid.
Mick's recent victory at Spa was in keeping with the gritty Schumacher attitude of coming through difficult phases with a positive result at the end. Mick himself faced a tough group of competitors around him, a field including Red Bull junior driver Daniel Ticktum as well as India's Jehan Daruvala who started race three in fourth place.
Despite the setbacks, Mick drove an inspired race and finished a shade ahead of Robert Shvartzman in second place to cap off a monumental victory at the legendary racing circuit. The win for Mick may have been a narrow one, but that wasn't the case with his father Michael in '92, where the team's tactics were spot-on and Schumacher Sr. crossed the line a mammoth thirty-six and a half seconds ahead of Nigel Mansell in second place.
The two wins were also distinct in that they were won in very different cars. Michael Schumacher's win more than a quarter of a century ago came in an unfancied Benetton-Ford, while Mick won his first race in an equally lesser-known Prema Theodore Racing-Mercedes car, beating both his teammates to grab the victory.
But even with the distinctiveness of the two triumphs, the similarities just don't seem to go away. There is a clear indicator that the driving style of father and son leaves a touch of familiarity and Mick's win under wet conditions was synonymous with the "King of Rain" moniker given to his father Michael for the German's ability to grind out victories in terrible racing conditions.
The final commonality is the duration of time taken for their first wins. Michael Schumacher debuted in F1 at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa and a year later won his first race. His son Mick also began his F3 career a season prior to his first win and took a total of 45 attempts to bring up his debut victory.
So there you have it. Like father like son. It may be a little early to stamp young Mick with the title of future legend, but there is no doubt that the Schumacher name is in very able hands.