Schumacher positive on Le Mans debut despite early DNF

© XPB 

Mick Schumacher experienced firsthand how harsh the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be on man and machine, yet the Alpine Hypercar driver chose to focus on the positives gleaned from his weekend in the Sarth.

Schumacher’s race was cut short on Saturday less than six hours into the race and after just a single stint at the wheel of Alpine’s #36 entry which the German driver shared with Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere.

Unfortunately, both of the team’s A424 cars were early retirements due to suspected engine issues.

For Alpine, the double DNF marked a disappointing end to their first foray into the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship at Le Mans.

They had undoubtedly hoped for a strong showing, and the early pace of the #36 car fueled those expectations.

But Schumacher opted to focus on the positive aspects of his and Alpine’s baptism by fire at Le Mans.

"I think we've come to a point now where we didn't quite get over the six hour mark," Schumacher told the media.

"We were very fast up to that point, which is a very big positive. We had an engine issue, which led us to retiring both cars, unfortunately. But again, I think not to have too much focused on the bad sides, but actually more focus on positives.

"We've been here for many, many days, driving around this track for quite a while. And we've learned a lot about it, we've prepared it.

“I think we grew together as a team, we managed to put stuff behind us, in form of issues that we've encountered.

"And then we really moved on from them to get to a point where we were fighting for pole, we were fighting for good positioning in the race, up to that point.

“And also, personally, my stint was very positive. So I'm really, really happy about that."

While Alpine's raw speed was a bright spot, Schumacher acknowledged the crucial need to understand the engine issue that sidelined both of its cars.

The fact that the same problem took down both machines suggests a potentially serious underlying issue with the powertrain.

However, he cautioned against jumping to conclusions until a thorough investigation is complete.

"I think now, at this point, what is left to do is just to make sure that we as team understand what happened, so that we can fix it for next time," added the Mercedes F1 reserve driver.

Overall, Schumacher was grateful to Alpine and Renault for providing him with the opportunity to race with the team.

"Also would like to just thank the whole Alpine group, and especially the Renault group for, obviously, getting me out here.

"The Alpine endurance team has been so good to me, in these first three races, prepared me for this one big one.

"And I really, really appreciate it, especially my team-mates have been day in day out whenever we were on track, but also off track really helpful and kind of trying to tell me what to manage."

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