Schumacher goes out in style in Sao Paulo 22 Oct 2006
He didnt win the title or even the race. Indeed he didnt even make the podium. However, Michael Schumachers farewell drive in Sundays Brazilian Grand Prix illustrated the grit, skill and determination that has made him the greatest driver Formula One racing has ever seen.
The odds were stacked against the Ferrari star from the outset after technical problems in qualifying at Interlagos left him only tenth on the grid. However, an excellent start saw him up to sixth place by the time the safety car intervened following Williams Nico Rosbergs early accident.
Soon after the race restarted, Schumacher dived down the inside of Giancarlo Fisichellas Renault to seize P4, but as he exited the Senna S he appeared to lose the back end of the car, the Italian promptly regaining the position. The cause of the slide quickly became clear - a left-rear puncture thought to have been caused by debris on the track.
Schumacher limped back to the pits to take on fuel and fresh rubber, but when he rejoined he was running 19th - and last. However, he was immediately back up to speed, slamming in fastest sector times and slicing his way past backmarkers. His progress slowed somewhat when he once more found himself behind Fisichella in the closing stages, but the Renault driver was eventually forced into a mistake by Schumachers relentless pressure, running wide at Turn 1 and surrendering fifth place in the process.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen - the man who will replace Schumacher at Ferrari - was the next target, and the Finn defended aggressively to maintain fourth place. It took a special move from Schumacher, the pair going side-by-side into Turn 1 just inches apart, with the seven-time champion ultimately emerging ahead.
That left him chasing Jenson Button for a podium, but with just two laps remaining there simply wasnt time to catch the Honda, despite Schumacher's penultimate lap being the fastest of the race, over half a second quicker than team mate Felipe Massas best.
Schumachers competitive Formula One career may be over, but true to form, the great man entertained us to the last. Thank you Michael.