Mercedes has paid tribute to seven-time Formula 1 world champion and former driver Michael Schumacher as he turns 50.

Schumacher remains the most successful F1 driver of all time, having claimed 91 race victories alongside his seven drivers’ world titles during two spells in the sport between 1991-2006 and 2010-2012, putting him two titles clear of current Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who moved level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five championships in 2018.

The German won two world championships with Benetton before making the switch to Ferrari, famously helping to transform the Scuderia into the most successful team in F1 history as he scored five consecutive drivers’ titles from 2000 to 2004, breaking numerous records along the way.

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Schumacher, who suffered serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013, is currently recovering at his home in Switzerland, with his family privately guarding details about his condition ever since. 

In a rare update released this week, the family said Schumacher is “in the very best of hands” as he celebrates his 50th birthday on Thursday, while Ferrari is leading the tributes by opening a special exhibition dedicated to its former driver at its museum.

"Michael has had a tremendous impact on Formula 1,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

"Not only did he set an incredible record - a record that is yet to be beaten - but he also shaped and changed the sport forever.

"As a driver, Michael took Formula 1 to a whole new level with his attention to detail and his technical knowledge.

“He did everything with great determination, from his engineering debriefs to his physical training, and was always searching for new ways to improve his on-track performance." 

Wolff also praised the impact Schumacher had on Mercedes during his stint at the team between 2010 and 2012, adding the German helped lay the foundations for its current domination of the V6 hybrid era.

Schumacher was unable to add to his tally of wins at Mercedes, though he did set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix and scored the 155th podium of his career at Valencia later in the same season.

“Michael is one of the founding fathers of the success we have had in the last five years,” Wolff explained.

“There is no other driver like him and his vast experience contributed tremendously in the development of our team.

“He played a crucial role when we re-joined F1 and was one of the people who laid the foundation for our future success.

“We're extremely grateful for everything he did for us. Today, we all tip our hats to you - happy birthday, Michael!"

Hamilton took to Twitter to wish Schumahcer well, adding the legacy he created in F1 will "last forever".

"What an honour it is to say that I have raced with you," he wrote. "You’ve always been a true inspiration to me and the entire world. Keep fighting, Champ."

 

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