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2012-10-21 09:05

TEAM PICTURE: Michael Schumacher and Mercedes F1 partner Nico Rosberg. This was taken ahead of the 2012 Shanghai F1 GP.

BERLIN, Germany - Michael Schumacher has insisted his poor 2012 season is his own fault and has nothing to do with his Mercedes Formula 1 car or team.

The 43-year-old will retire from the top discipline in motor racing at the end of the 2012 season.

Back at the beginning of October 2012 Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche blamed Schumacher's disappointing return to F1 on the German team's under-performing car.

'I GAVE ALL I HAD'

Schumacher returned to F1 (and much scepticism) in 2010 with Mercedes after supposedly retiring four years earlier but, despite his seven World championships, failed to make an impact. He is 14th in the World Drivers' championship and won his seventh title back in 2004.

He said in an interview with Sunday's German daily Die Welt: "As racing drivers, we are independent of the cars. That things didn't go so well for me is my fault, not that of the team.

"What is important is to be able to look in the mirror and say ‘I gave all I had’. And I can do that. I can leave F1 with my head held high.

"Above all, I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. How often has my wife gone off to a riding tournament, which I couldn't go to, because I was off to a race? That has bothered me more and more recently.

"A sportsman can perform at the highest level only for so much time. I have already extended my stay longer than most."

'MISSION OVER'

Regardless of his performances over the past three seasons, Schumacher will walk away from F1 as the sport's most successful driver.

"My mission is over. I can go back to the happy period of my life which I enjoyed during my first retirement."

Since his second retirement was announced on October 4 2012, he added, he had been looking forward to the end of the season and his subsequent freedom “with "great anticipation".

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