Schumacher bids an emotional farewell
Michael Schumacher said farewell to Formula One with a battling seventh place for Mercedes at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday before an embrace for newly-crowned triple champion Sebastian Vettel.
By a remarkable coincidence, seventh was where he qualified in his first Grand Prix back in Belgium in 1991 for the now defunct Jordan team 308 races ago. The seven times champion also had the number seven on his car at Interlagos.
After a stellar 21-year career, the most successful by any Formula One driver with his record 91 wins, Schumacher recognised his time was up at the age of 43.
His army of fans made clear they will miss the former Ferrari great all the same. "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.
The former Ferrari great started in 13th place but, despite an early puncture and four pitstops, made the most of wet and chaotic conditions to end a run of six races without a point.
"We're not really in a position to offer a lot of fireworks in this last race although I wish to do," he had said, standing next to Red Bull's champion Vettel on a truck as they went around the circuit for the pre-race drivers' parade.
"It's been a pleasure to come back," said the sport's most successful driver.