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Maldonado brushes off criticism for Ericsson clash

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Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has brushed off criticism received following his clash with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in Brazil by saying that “rubbing’s racing”.

Maldonado and Ericsson came together during last weekend’s race at Interlagos, with the minor collision prompting Sauber to pit its driver and check for damage on his car.

The stewards handed Maldonado a five-second time penalty for the incident, but the Venezuelan driver bounced back to finish the race P10 following Felipe Massa’s exclusion.

Ericsson ailed home in 16th place, prompted Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn to tell Autosport that Maldonado was “very, very annoying”, given his reputation for on-track incidents.

Maldonado has hit back at this criticism, though, putting it down as a racing incident.

“There’s a saying that rubbing’s racing,” Maldonado said. “In Formula 1 it sometimes feels like you get penalized for every bit of contact.

“I went for a gap that was there – and we all want to see overtaking in Formula 1 – and he closed the gap whilst defending his position.

“I saw it as a racing incident, and on a corner like turn one in Brazil the driver on the outside will usually come off worse. We spoke after the race and all’s fine between us.

“I think pretty much the same would have happened if positions were reversed and he had tried the same move on me.”

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.