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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Michael Schumacher profile
A class act to the end

Michael Schumacher
Born: 3/1/69
Nationality: German
First GP: Belgium 1991
Wins: 91
Titles: 7
Previous teams: Jordan, Benetton
2006 position: 2nd
Michael Schumacher retired from Formula One on a high at the end of this season, even though he did not win an eighth world championship title.

All the skill and commitment that made Schumacher so formidable remained in intact to the very end of his career.

Bouncing back to the front after Ferrari's poor 2005, Schumacher took a thrilling title fight to the last race.

And at the age of 37, the German remained the best driver in the sport, a legend in his own lifetime.

To the end of his career, Schumacher had no major weaknesses, and he may well be, as David Coulthard said, the most complete driver in history.

Even as he acknowledged that the fire was dimming inside, he continued to produce moments to remind just how good he is.

His career statistics - including an astonishing 91 wins - are so incredible they will probably never be beaten.

Until the ascent of Alonso to the top of the F1 tree, there had been in recent years no rival who could come close to matching Schumacher's all-round ability.

Ferrari's domination for much of the new millennium meant Schumacher rarely had to extend himself to win.

But seeing him again in a full-on fight with a competitor of comparable ability has heightened appreciation of his talents and allowed Schumacher to bow out of the sport in a manner befitting such a great champion.

It should not be forgotten, though, that Ferrari's superiority since 2000 was largely created by what some argue was Schumacher's greatest achievement.

That is his ability to attract to the team probably the greatest collection of brains in F1 history, and to inspire them to reach heights no-one had previously achieved.

The team would not have risen to that level of performance had they not been inculcated with Schumacher's incredible work ethic, ruthless determination and almost robotic perfection.

Not satisfied with simply being the fastest and most talented driver in the world, he also worked hardest.

He expected his colleagues to do the same, and gathered around him at Ferrari a group of immensely capable people who think the same way.

He created an environment that is totally focused on him and which allows him to perform at his absolute best at all times, knowing that the team will match him every step of the way.

As they have throughout his career, his ethics have remained questionable at best.

But that will not stop him going down in history as one of the very greatest drivers in the history of the sport.

Schumacher's career in photos
10 Sep 06 |  Motorsport

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