Chennai: Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of double F1 world champion Emerson, won the opening race of the MRF Challenge series’ final round here on Saturday, but it was Mick Schumacher who stole the spotlight, finishing on the podium on his first appearance in the country.
Fittipaldi, who started on pole, was unchallenged all through the race. He was followed home in second by Harrison Newey, closely watched by his father and legendary F1 design guru Adrian.
Schumacher, son of seven-time F1 champion Michael, finished third. Schumacher, the focus of intense media attention, had started fourth but lost ground at the start, dropping to fifth. The 16-year-old, fresh from his first season of single-seater racing, clawed that back, however, picking off Indian Tarun Reddy and Belgian Alessio Picariello to cross the line third.
“I’m really happy, for sure,” Schumacher, who bears more than a slight resemblance to his father, said. “The two guys were a bit quicker than I, so they were gone from the start on. I had to pass a few people first. So, yeah I’m really happy to be third now,” said Schumacher, whose management has forbidden media from interviewing him.
The second race of the day didn’t go as well for the German, however. Starting fourth again, he was hustling Tatiana Calderon for third when he clashed with the Colombian and dropped down the order, finishing sixth.