Mick Schumacher had ‘easy Q2’ pace as track limits breach forced early exit

Jamie Woodhouse
Mick Schumacher with his hand to his head. Japan October 2022

Mick Schumacher thought the pace was in his Haas VF-22 to comfortably reach Q2 in Mexico, but instead he fell at the first hurdle.

It looked like the German racer had secured a safe passage to Q2 when he popped up in P7 on the timesheets, although that sense of achievement quickly evaporated as Race Control decided to chalk off that time due to a track limits violation.

Schumacher helped himself to a hefty slice of kerb at the apex of Turn 2, the stewards judging he had not kept his car within bounds.

On his second run with that set of soft tyres, Schumacher was unable to find the performance needed to book a spot in Q2.

“My first lap got deleted, which was enough for P7 at the time,” Schumacher told reporters after the session. “So it would have been easy into Q2.

“It was unfortunate because the pace is there and we couldn’t quite use it as the track limits were the main factor of defeat today.”

Asked if he had suspected he had gone beyond track limits at Turn 2, Schumacher replied: “In my view it was going to be enough to like jump over it and basically be with either tyre inside the white line.

“But yeah, apparently it doesn’t quite count even if the tyre is in the air.”

Schumacher will gain a position to start P15 due to a five-place grid drop for his team-mate Kevin Magnussen after a new Ferrari Internal Combustion Engine was fitted into his Haas challenger.

But since the Danish racer will drop to P19, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner admitted the starting spots for his drivers are disappointing.

Nonetheless, Steiner feels Schumacher gave reason for optimism come the race.

“The good thing is for the first time we made it into Q2 in Mexico,” said Steiner. “Now, with the penalty, Kevin needs to start from P19 which is not fantastic, but I think Mick showed what the car is capable of in his second run in Q1, on his first lap.

“He had a time that would have put him comfortably into the top 10. He was off the track limits, which didn’t give him an advantage, but we were over it and you get your time deleted. On his second lap, on the same set of tyres, he couldn’t recover because the tyre wasn’t there anymore.

“It’s disappointing to end up like this but for tomorrow I think the car has good pace in it and hopefully we can make up some positions like we did in Austin.”

Read more: Toto Wolff says whole Mercedes team ‘wasn’t good enough’ after missing out on pole