Vettel and Alonso pay tribute to Schumacher

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Korea International Circuit, 2012Championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso paid tribute to outgoing seven-times world championship Michael Schumacher during the press conference ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Asked about his memories of racing against Alonso, Schumacher said: “Obviously with Fernando I have had quite a few more years together, competing and fighting championships. Obviously that is slightly different in this respect and it was tough moments.”

Schumacher joked: “He was, unfortunately, in quite a few moments looking very strong and doing too good a job, honestly. He should have taken it easy and look after the old man.”

Alonso said he will “always remember the privilege to race and compete with someone like Michael that will be recorded in history in Formula One maybe for a very long time”.

“We’ve been there, we’ve been on the grid close to him and as Michael says some good fights and great respect on the circuits and always constantly learning with someone that changed a little bit this sport,” he added.

“He was my childhood hero”

Schumacher said he felt pride at seeing Vettel’s success in Formula One: “On Seb’s side we’ve been friend for a long time. I’ve followed his career into Formula One and seeing him do so well obviously makes me proud.

“Because we’ve both grown up on kind of my home track in Kerpen and to see where he’s started, to end up kind of being dominant for quite a while recently, that’s quite an achievement.”

Vettel described how his relationship with Schumacher has changed over the years: “It’s obviously a little bit different for Fernando than it is for me because obviously I had the privilege to meet Michael when I was a small kid.

“He was my childhood hero – I mean maybe he can close his ears now – but he was a true inspiration back then for me and other kids, as he mentioned, in Kerpen. He was our hero and obviously we had the honour to meet him.

“He was taking care of the championship held in Kerpen and came to the last race, gave all the trophies to everyone, every child. More than a hundred at a time so he was very patient. Now obviously I understand that the busy schedule he had, taking that extra time for the fans but especially for us, for the kids racing, was something very special, a very special memory.

“When I met him the first time obviously I didn’t know what to sat because I didn’t want to ask something stupid but for sure I remember these moments and then later on and today I think it’s a little bit different became you are more grown up and have a normal relationship.

“So when I talk to him now it doesn’t feel like talking to my childhood hero it feels like talking to Michael so I see the person rather than what he has achieved. But obviously you remind yourself that and the fact that I was racing against him the last couple of years, unfortunately not as close as probably he shared with Fernando.

“Still that thought or that image was very far away when I was a small kid because he was already in Formula One but for me it was a dream, so very far away. But a very special last couple of years, very special I think the relationship we share and I think he will always be an inspiration for myself.”

“A different life again”

Schumacher said he did not feel sadness ahead of his final F1 race this weekend, adding he’ll “just take the best out of it and enjoy it as much as I can”.

“I have tried that mission to end successful, it didn’t work this time, but I’m quite happy to finish from here and then go for a different life again.”

Reflecting on “20 mostly good years” Schumacher added: “I just remember when I was in the early days I said that if I’m going to do this four of five years that’s going to be probably most of it and then I will be tired and I can’t see myself longer than this. And obviously it became almost 21 years.

“I’m pretty sure it’s difficult for those guys to imagine that long time ahead but let’s see.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    30 comments on “Vettel and Alonso pay tribute to Schumacher”

    1. If Schumi doesn’t finish in the top 3, he should be invited to take part of the podium ceremony as a kind of tribute.

      1. @naylamp

        Yeah. It’s a great opportunity for F1, to finally do something well. Same with the world champion, if he doesn’t end up on podium, he should go there anyway !

        For a guy that changed F1 like Schumacher, the 2006 ceremony was lame. The only good thing about it was Kimi’s remark about going to the bathroom before races…

      2. @naylamp He should do the podium interviews!

        1. that would be tremendous.

          1. OH YES!!! They MUST get him to do that!!! What better send off, than to have him interview the top 3! And they can say a few words also about the years Schumacher has given to the sport.

      3. Nah, that belongs to the Top 3. Schumi was 4th in ’06, and (quite rightly IMO) stayed off the podium.

        That said, he will have his own ceremony care of Interlagos and the Brazilian GP organizers. Perhaps Kimi might even make it there this time. ;)

    2. It’s a shame he hasn’t had more success this time and kinda sad.

      1. No it’s not – star should fall when it still shines. Now he discredited the last bit of respect.

        Somehow strange – one guy dominates the field for one year, but doesn;t get the same “master Schumacher” following, now Schumher had 3 mediocore years and it’s clear he isn’t such a god-in-car as people in the 2000.-2005. liked to scream.

        His return has diminished his uber-drivers aura.

        1. I don’t think so. I doubt anyone believes that the ’10-’12 Schumacher is even close to the driver we saw humiliate the whole field in the early 2000’s.
          Drivers get better, up until a point where things start to go the other way, and the skill will decline even faster after 3 years of vacation. Age has simply just caught up with him.
          Yes his reputation, statistics and so on would be more god-like had he not made the comeback, but I think that he has more fans (or at least supporters) now then he had after his first retirement.

        2. Now he discredited the last bit of respect.

          Absolute nonsense. He’s shown he still has the passion for racing, but the incredible skill and race-craft he once had has not returned to him due to I suspect a combination of age and being away from the sport too long.

          Make no mistake, he was incredible in the 90’s and early 2000’s and deserved the wins and titles he achieved, along with the ‘uber-driver aura’ . His comeback will be looked at a a disappointment, but it will not sully the masterful driver he was in his prime.

        3. Rubbish. I respect the guy more for giving it a go. He is a supreme driver and let’s not forget that it’s Mercedes who haven’t provided the tools, not Michael.

    3. One for the stats and facts: the word ‘obviously’ was mentioned ten times in this article by either Vettel or Schumacher.

      1. @andae23 For sure, “obviously” is the new “for sure”, obviously.

        1. Can this be QOTD

    4. It was fun to have Schumacher back in the sport for a few additional years, but I guess it’s time for him to go. Too bad that things didn’t work out better for him and the team, but I still maintain that these last 3 mediocre years have done nothing to tarnish his legacy as the most successful driver ever. Nobody will be subtracting any of his poles, podiums, wins, or championships from the record books.

      1. Drop Valencia!
        23rd November 2012, 7:37

        Indeed they will be adding a Podium…

    5. He was my childhood hero, so having to watch him retire twice is an odd feeling! I’m very disappointed he didn’t have the comeback so many expected – only one podium does not do justice to some of the fine performances he’s given over the past three seasons even taking into account the many accidents and mistakes he’s made. This season has definitely been the strongest of his comeback years.
      Still the Schumi that came back wasn’t the same as the one that left, and in a way I’m glad to see him finally retire. He’s made his mark (and then some!) and has nothing left to do in the sport. I hope he enjoys his retirement this time.

      1. @colossal-squid
        Yeah, its quite annoying that the year where he has performed the best (since his comeback) has been riddled with mechanical failures and of cause the late season Mercedes which does nothing but go backwards in the race. In fact, it seems to be only better of the 3 backmarkers right now. Every other team has scored points recently. Mercedes hasn’t. Of cause some of that is down to mechanical failures and accidents, but the race pace is still useless, even though it does perform quite well in qualifying.

        1. @mads Yeah, Schumi has been almost anonymous in the last few races through no fault of his own. The car can go nowhere! Not a fitting end to his comeback at all. If it wasn’t for his retirement in China, and the penalty in Monaco we might very well have a completely different view. It’s been a depressing year to see Schumi do his best but the car either struggle or break down.

    6. I was never a huge fan of Michael during his Ferrari years (mainly because I never had much love for Ferrari… still don’t), but I’ve always, always respected him & thought of him as one of the best drivers to ever compete in the sport. His achievements in Formula One will never be forgotten, & cannot be belittled… and for me, it’s way more than just the number of wins & championships. So many stunning drives of his (especially in the wet) are seared into my brain. I was exited to see him return to F1, & I’m disappointed he didn’t achieve the same level of success the second time around, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he still has the chops, & should still be rated as one of the best in the field.

    7. Having started watching age 12 in 1994 I have grown in the Schumacher era. I couldn’t stand him when he was in his prime, Adelaide 94 and Jerez 97 always stuck in my mind amongst his other unsporting conduct and the Ferrari years where he crushed the opposition were so boring. But I liked the post comeback Schumacher, he always seemed grateful to be racing and would always wave to the camera in the pre race build up etc. Of course there’s been a couple of reminders of the old ruthless Schumacher but generally he’s been pretty well behaved. I definitely respect him a lot more these days now he’s mellowed out a bit. I found myself cheering him on for the podium in Canada 2011 and i’m glad he finally got up there at Valenica this year. I’m sad to see him go as he’s the last link to that simpler era before F1 went truly global and the racetracks were more demanding with gravel traps instead of run off areas and before they modified classic circuits such as the old Hockenheim ring.

    8. I just hope that he is going to leave sport on a high (with a podium place, or even a win) after a superb performance so that even the biggest of the haters dont think that the last 3 years were waste of time. After all it was entertaining to watch him battling through midfield and not being afraid to pull off some brave moves, unlike some younger drivers.

    9. For me, 2012 Monaco GP Quals depict exactly the phenomenal driving ability of MS that shadows everyone else’s reputation. This course is the ultimate to prove yourself and HE did. The others didn’t. End of discussion from my point of view.

    10. One thing I’ve been thankful for as a Schumacher fan was that he was able to race so long so safely, only getting injured once (Silverstone 1999). That is a true testament to F1 safety today. May be stay safe in the final F1 race of his career and beyond.

      1. @journeyer Rather like Prost, he’s not had that many big crashes. Am I right in saying he’s only rolled once – at Australia in 2001:

        1. @keithcollantine

          I also only remember that one instance when Schumacher rolled over. But he did have quite a few heavy crashes. Practice in Spa 1996, the tyre blowout at over 300 kph during testing in Monza 2004. His crash 2002 in Barcelona was intense as well and I can’t remember the year, but at some point during testing Fiorano his rear wing fell of at the end of the main straight.

          I think it’s simply the massive amount of races he did and constantly operating at the limit, even during testing that amounts to a certain number of shunts. But still, I think on a few occasions he has been lucky.

          1. @keithcollantine @dennis Yeah, I actually remember Spa 96 and Australia 01. But the others I didn’t even know about.

    11. Alonso and Vettel – the two drivers at the peak of their games at the moment, who know exactly what kind of strength it takes to win races, championships and multiple championships recognising Schumacher in this way says it all. Especially Alonso who had mega battles with Schumacher in 2006.

      From my first serious year of F1 when Schumi fought Villeneuve, then Hakkinen, the years of dominance until Alonso and him went to-to-toe….good times and great memories. Those moments and times are why I don’t miss a single weekend of F1!

      The last 3 years were tough as a Schumi fan but it’s okay after all those great times.

      Thanks Michael (I’m sure he’ll come to F1fanantic and read this)

    12. It is going to be sad to watch him leave but that’s outweighed by how much I can smile and respect him for what he’s done. He proved his doubters wrong…perhaps not straight away, but he proved them wrong. He gave us a human side, a more humourous Michael and a great challenger on the grid. I hope he hangs around and pops into the odd race now and then.

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