Mick Schumacher missed out on his first WEC points after bad luck with the demolition in Spa

Mick Schumacher missed his first points in the World Endurance Championship at the WEC race in Spa-Francorchamps due to a lot of bad luck. The former Formula 1 driver took twelfth place on the grid of 19 hypercars in the #36 Alpine A424 with his French teammates Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere.

It could have turned out completely differently for Schumacher and Co. because: At the time of the red flag as a result of the serious Cadillac-BMW accident, the #36 Alpine was one of only three cars that had just made their pit stop. The other representatives in the pits were the #12 Jota-Porsche (Stevens, Ilott) and the #6 Penske-Porsche (Estre, Lotterer, Vanthoor), who completed the race, which was extended by 1:44 hours, in first and second place.

WEC Spa: Highlights and summary of the race (14:27 mins)

Mick Schumacher unlucky: lapped in the box

While the two Porsche 963s gained an unassailable lead of more than a minute over the competition thanks to their pit stops at the restart behind the safety car, the Alpine was unable to benefit from the crowded field. Reason: When Schumacher, who had taken over from starting driver Lapierre on lap 69, made his pit stop on lap 94, he was lapped in the pits by the leading #51 Ferrari.

When there was a colossal crash between the LMDh-Cadillac and the GT3-BMW on lap 95, Schumacher was no longer on the leading lap. The race management did not allow a wave-by of the Alpine or the Isotta Fraschini, which had already been lapped several times, after the restart. In the end, this cost Schumacher, Lapierre and Vaxiviere around two minutes of lost time. The sister car with starting number #39 (Gounon, Milesi, Chatin) reached ninth place and finished in the points for the second time.

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #36, Alpine, Mick Schumacher, Lapierre, Vaxiviere
Mick Schumacher in the Alpine at the WEC race in Spa, Photo: DPPI/WEC

Schumacher: “That’s how it works in motorsport”

“We achieved our goals with a clean race,” said Schumacher in one Alpine press release quoted. “Unfortunately, the red flag affected our chances of a better result. Otherwise, points would have been within reach. We lacked a bit of luck, but that’s how it goes in motorsport.” Team boss Philippe Sinault from Alpine operations team Signatech agreed: “The #36 was a bit unlucky with the red flag, but overall it was satisfactory.”

After a weak weekend, Alpine came back strongly in Imola and was the fourth strongest force behind Porsche, Ferrari and Toyota. The French were able to distance themselves from heavyweights like Peugeot and BMW, which should be encouraging for the upcoming home race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 15-16, 2024). In the #35, the Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg also returns after his injury and takes over from substitute driver Jules Gounon.

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #36, Alpine, Mick Schumacher, Lapierre, Vaxiviere
Alpine team: Schumacher, Lapierre and Vaxiviere, photo: Alpine

First WEC qualifying for Schumacher in the Alpine

WEC debutant Schumacher spent a total of 45 laps at the wheel of the 680 hp hybrid prototype in Spa, including the final stint from the 122nd to the 140th lap. On average, he was one of the top 15 fastest drivers in the field of 48 hypercar drivers, according to an analysis by ‘The B Pillar‘ emerges.

His learning process on long distances continues, and the 25-year-old also experienced a premiere in Spa: Schumacher was allowed to take part in a qualifying session for the first time, after his experienced teammate Lapierre had been chasing times in Qatar and Imola.

“That was a decision by the team,” said Schumacher after qualifying Motorsport-Magazin.com. “They asked me if I wanted to drive. ‘Sure,’ I replied. It’s important to gain experiences like that. Now I know what the car feels like with little gas in the tank. And if I do in the future If I ever drive a qualifying session, I know what to expect.”

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #36, Alpine, Mick Schumacher, Lapierre, Vaxiviere
Alpine is contesting its first WEC season with the A424-LMDh, Photo: LAT Images

“Distance to sister car a little bigger than planned”

Schumacher finished his first WEC qualifying in twelfth place – the best result of the season for the #36 – moving up one position after the pole-setter Ferrari was disqualified. Meanwhile, in the #35 sister car, Charles Milesi managed to get an Alpine into the Hyperpole (shootout of the top 10) for the first time and ultimately took seventh place on the grid. The Frenchman was 0.288 seconds faster than Schumacher in the group stage.

“I had a stationary wheel in Turn 8, which of course didn’t help,” explained Schumacher. “After that I had a small puncture. That wasn’t ideal. Since the tire only lasts for one lap, that was it. I didn’t get everything together, so the gap to the sister car was a little bigger than planned. I have a prototype for the first time “We were really at the limit with little fuel in the tank, but it was relatively positive.”

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #36, Alpine, Mick Schumacher, Lapierre, Vaxiviere
Fan magnet also at the WEC: Mick Schumacher, photo: Alpine

Schumacher at Le Mans: Will Vettel says whether it’s worth it

After the Spa weekend, Alpine headed straight to Paul Ricard, where the next test drives are scheduled before the endurance classic at Le Mans in four weeks. Schumacher is starting at the Sarthe for the first time and certainly wouldn’t have complained if he had met his friend Sebastian Vettel at Le Mans. The four-time Formula 1 world champion recently tested a Porsche 963, but a deal for Le Mans 2024 was not reached.

“I always like to see Sebastian, no matter where! I’ve never experienced the 24 Hours of Le Mans myself. After the race I’ll probably tell him whether it’s worth it or not,” said Schumacher recently in an exclusive interview with Motorsport-Magazin.com. You can read the full conversation from Spa here:

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