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Schumacher bids adieu

Sao Paulo: Michael Schumacher’s fans made their presence felt at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday as the seven-time Formula One champion said farewell to the sport at the age of 43. Schumacher finished seventh.

“On 25 Nov 2012, last day of the golden age of F1,” declared one banner in the grandstand overlooking the main Interlagos straight.

“Michael, F1 is nothing without you” and “Michael, we love you,” said others.

“We did not offer a lot of fireworks,” the German said.

“It’s been a pleasure to come back,” added the sport’s most successful driver, who won his titles and 91 races with Benetton and Ferrari before returning with Mercedes.

“I enjoyed most of it. It wasn’t as successful as we wanted it to be but still I learned a lot for life and I’m quite glad for the good emotions again. Now is a good time to go...”

Schumacher retired for the first time in Brazil in 2006 and came back in 2010. With Mercedes he has just one podium finish to his credit, at the European Grand Prix in Valencia this season.

Although not emotional about his departure, Schumacher admitted he had been affected by fans’ outpourings of support at Interlagos this week. “I’m obviously feeling touched. It is a very nice gesture from all those fans,” he said.

“People who love motorsport liked what I was doing over all those years. It’s certainly a good feeling. But I’m still focused 100 per cent.”

He underlined he would not be changing his approach for his last race, or going for broke with a strategic gamble if rain hit. “Usually in these conditions I try to do the best. It's not about gambling, it’s about trying to be precise and spot on,” said Schumacher.