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'He's the greatest racing driver of this century - Brawn
Ross Brawn described Michael Schumacher as "the greatest racing driver of this century" as the seven-time world champion announced his retirement.
Schumacher confirmed at Suzuka that he would be retiring for a second time at the end of the current season, with Lewis Hamilton already confirmed as replacing him for 2013. Brawn - having worked with Schumacher on all of his seven world championships - paid tribute to his contribution to the Mercedes project and said he will have played a major part in any future success for the team.
"Well I think he's the greatest racing driver of this century," Brawn said. "And I was very privileged to work with Michael from the very beginning. Obviously I had some fantastic times, tough times, but also very successful times. I think Michael brought a lot to the team in this second period that people don't see; huge contribution behind the scenes. We haven't achieved what we wanted to achieve together and that's frustrating but I think what we do achieve in the future Michael will have made a contribution to it. So for me personally, the greatest racing driver of this century."
Mercedes head of motorsport Norbert Haug said working with Schumacher was the realisation of a dream and believes he could have won races in 2012 had luck been on his side.
"I'd like to thank Michael really for what he's done for us," Haug said. "We've known each other for a very long period of time, he started as a junior in group C - his professional career - and then as Ross pointed out he became the most successful racing driver in the world, winning more races, more championships. We were competitors at that time and we all had the dream to work together, that opportunity came when Brawn GP with a Mercedes engine won the championship as you know that story. Ross did a good job in talking to Michael and of course our plan was to build something up; I think we did not achieve what we wanted to achieve so far but the foundations are there and I really have to thank Michael deep from my heart, and this is really on behalf of everybody in Mercedes-Benz and Daimler.
"He gave it everything, he was never complaining, he was a constructive guy to the outside, to the inside. I learned from this new Michael in the second career even more than the first because he was successful - we were and are friends - but I admired very much how he pushed the team in a very constructive and positive manner. And of course there have been races like China when it could have happened, but it was his wheelnut and I did not wish it was a wheelnut for Nico [Rosberg] but you all can imagine what could have happened. But this does not count at the end. But I tell you, a guy who is capable of doing the pole position time at Monaco is still really on it, and that's what I admire, what Ross admires, what everyone in the team admires on Michael; he gave to our team and I'm sure these are very, very important foundations for the future for us."