Hamilton confident young Schumacher will make it to F1

Mick Schumacher, son of former multiple Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, sprays champagne when celebrating becoming overall winner in FIA Formula 3 European Championships at the Hockenheim race track in Hockenheim, southern Germany, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)

By JIM VERTUNO

AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lewis Hamilton said Thursday he is confident Mick Schumacher, the son of former seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, will make it to Formula One.

Mick Schumacher won the European Formula 3 championship last weekend, the first title for the 19-year-old. His father, Michael, is the most successful driver in F1 history who suffered a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in 2013 after retiring.

Hamilton said he doesn't think the Schumacher name will be a burden on the youngster's rising career.

"There will 100 percent be a Schumacher back in F1, partly because of the name but secondly because he's doing a good job," Hamilton at the U.S. Grand Prix, where he has a chance to clinch his fifth championship this weekend in Texas.

Mick Schumacher won eight of the last 15 races in F3 this season and said this week he will announce his future race plans soon.

"He obviously has a lot of talent like his dad had, just like Keke and Nico (Rosberg)," Hamilton said. "I think he could be great for the sport."

Mick Schumacher has not yet been picked up by an F1 team's junior program. A natural progression would be to race in Formula 2 next season. Current Williams driver Lance Stroll made the jump from F3 to Formula One last season.

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso said fans should be careful not to burden the younger Schumacher with expectations.

"I never met him, I only see the results from the outside," Alonso said. "It would be good for the sport to have the Schumacher name on F1, but let's see what the future brings and not put extra pressure on him that I'm sure he already has. Let time decide."

---

More AP Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

---

Follow Jim Vertuno at https://twitter.com/jimvertuno

Updated October 18, 2018

@STATS_Insights