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PREMA Racing finished the first qualifying session of the season in a pleased mood after Mick Schumacher qualified fifth on the grid with teammate Robert Shwartzman three places below in eighth.

In what was a chaotic first qualifying session that saw a red flag and several off-track excursions. Schumacher, who is returning for his second season of Formula 2 competition timed his lap correctly to secure fifth on the grid for the upcoming Feature Race.

The German praised his team’s efforts in getting a new engine in the car in time for qualifying after experiencing technical issues in free practice.

“What the team did today was amazing! In free practice, we had problems with the engine and decided to change the engine just before the qualifying. Thanks to the mechanics who managed to do this so quickly! All the more we are all very happy with fifth place.”

Schumacher also praised the new tyres that Pirelli have brought for the 2020 season with the German commentating that the new rubber feels more stable.

“The new tyres are much more stable than the old ones – they allow three push laps in a row. Now we want to try to get the best out of the car in tomorrow’s race.”

Shwartzman’s first qualifying session in F2 was hampered by traffic which caused a “messy” flying lap.

Nevertheless, the Russian was happy with his pace throughout Friday as he hopes for a good result.

“It was a positive day. We had a quite ok practice and the pace was looking good. We had some issues, but that’s something quite usual for a first race. I felt good in terms of the car and its balance though. Qualifying was messy and I didn’t get any clear lap. My best lap was set in huge traffic with another car really close to me, now it’s full focus for the race, trying not to make mistakes and keep the tyres in the best possible conditions to do a good job overall.”

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