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Schumacher looking forward to final F1 exit
25 November 2012
Today will see Michael Schumacher's second retirement from the sport that he dominated for a decade - but this time, the former world champion has no mixed emotions about the moment, and admits that he's happy to be walking away.
"I'm counting down the days to go to the life I have next," said the seven-time world champion ahead of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. "I look forward to this."
Schumacher retired at the end of the 2006 season after narrowly missing out on an eighth title to Fernando Alonso, which was decided six years ago at Sao Paulo in Brazil. There was a feeling then that Schumacher had retired too early, that he'd 'slipped' into a premature exit after keeping Ferrari holding on for a decision too long. There were no such second thoughts for him this time, however.
"For me, it's different. I'm a little more cool and relaxed about it," he said, insisting that his poor performance in his last-ever F1 qualifying session on Saturday had been affected by the emotions surrounding his imminent exit from the sport with which his name is synonymous.
"Maybe in certain moments, such as going to the grid or after the race when the chequered flag is down then, yes, there are moments when I will think about this one," he said. ""Who knows? I might even be emotional. But, so far, there's not been too much of it."
Schumacher dodged questions about what he might do next - whether he will remain in F1 in some capacity, or continue racing at another level of motor sports - and insisted that he had no "concrete future plans".
He added, "There are good ideas and good options, so I'm pretty sure my calendar will be easily filled up."
In the immediate future, Schumacher said that he expecte the 2012 season finale at Interlagos to be an exciting end to the current season, no matter who wins the world championship.
I very much look forward to this because it offers more opportunities," he said. "Particularly with the conditions we're going to face."
A short pre-qualifying shower on Saturday made for an exciting Q1 session, and conditions have been set in Sao Paulo overnight meaning that the track will revert to 'green' conditions which will make the first laps tricky. Forecasters are still divided over whether the race itself will be dry, hit by showers - or fully wet.
Schumacher might be hoping for the latter, given his former title as a "rainmeister", and the 43-year-old admitted that Mercedes might have veered too much into assuming that Sunday will be wet than was good for them in qualifying.
"We might have compromised the car too much for the rain which is expected for tomorrow," he said. "My starting position is now quite tricky, and I will have to see what we can make out of it ... Coming from where I am does not make it easy, but I will definitely try to fight my way up the field."
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