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2012-11-25 20:28

'THANK YOU, MICHAEL': Michael Schumacher fans were out in force at the Interlagos circuit to bid farewell to the Mercedes driver in his final F1 race.

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Michael Schumacher's fans made their presence felt at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday as the seven times Formula 1 champion prepared to say farewell to the sport at the age of 43.

One banner in the grandstand overlooking the main Interlagos straight declared: "On 25 Nov 2012, last day of the golden age of F1."

'IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE'


"Michael, F1 is nothing without you" and "Michael, we love you," said others.

Schumacher started the race in 13th place, capping a career that started in 1991 when Red Bull's new world champion Sebastian Vettel was four years old.

The German said, standing next to Vettel on a truck as they went around the circuit for the pre-race drivers' parade: "We're not really in a position to offer a lot of fireworks in this last race although I wish to do.

"It's been a pleasure to come back," added the sport's most successful driver, who won his titles and 91 races with Benetton and Ferrari before returning with Mercedes.

"I enjoyed most of it. It wasn't as successful as we wanted it to be but still I learned a lot for life and I'm quite glad for the good emotions again. Now is a good time to go..."

Schumacher retired for the first time in Brazil in 2006 and came back in 2010.

With Mercedes he has just one podium finish to his credit, at the 2012 European Grand Prix.

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