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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Schumacher: I feel exhausted
Michael Schumacher celebrates his record-breaking achievement with team-mate Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt and wife Corinna
I had to make sure I was eighth so I had to fight as you never know when a car will finish
Michael Schumacher
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher said he felt empty, exhausted and proud after winning a record sixth Formula One drivers' title.

The German claimed the point he needed to be sure of the title by finishing eighth in the Japanese Grand Prix.

But the tension and incidents at Suzuka took its toll on the 34-year-old.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I am empty and exhausted but proud of what we as a team have achieved with another constructors' championship," he said.

He added: "It's probably not appropriate to describe my emotions.

"It's been a tough year and tough late stage of the season, and it's been a tough race, probably one of my most difficult ever."

Schumacher recovered from losing a front wing early on and a coming together with brother Ralf and Toyota's Cristiano da Matta to finish eighth.

The damage to Schumacher's car forced him to make a pit stop on the sixth lap which dropped him down to 20th place, putting the pressure on him.

Schumacher drives back to the pits with a broken front wing early in the Japanese Grand Prix
People wrote Ferrari off but we are back
Michael Schumacher
"I was a bit messy today after having a little incident. But to come back with the traffic and fight though and with Ralf hitting me in the back it was a very strange race," he acknowledged.

"I had to go flat out when I lost my nose and knew that Juan Pablo Montoya was out so didn't know what the outcome could be," Schumacher admitted.

"I had to make sure I was eighth so I had to fight as you never know when a car will finish, this is F1, things happen.

"The fight with Ralf and Cristiano da Matta was tough. There are a lot of thoughts going through your head and you just try and carry your car as safe and easy as possible to the chequered flag.

"It is very strange for me. Most of my championships I have won with a victory but here I am winning it with eighth place so it is a mixed emotion.

"People wrote Ferrari off but we are still here, we are back. We are a huge family and we are all so proud to be a part of it," he said.

Schumacher again denied that he was considering quitting now he has broken Fangio's record.

"There is no reason to stop, especially when I am still good at racing and still competitive," he said.

"It was an exhausting season but why not let me enjoy it?"




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