Vettel: Schumacher was a hero and inspiration for me 23 November, 2012 Sebastian Vettel with Michael Schumacher during the United States GP weekend Nov.23 (Reuters) Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel on Thursday hailed Michael Schumacher as his hero and inspiration, as the German great prepared for a final farewell to the sport at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Sitting alongside the seven time champion at a news conference, Vettel suggested that the 43-year-old might like to cover his ears before singing the praises of a man he first met as a schoolboy karter. “He was a true inspiration back then, for me and for many other kids,” said the 25-year-old, who could become the youngest ever triple world champion on Sunday. “He was our hero.” Vettel recalled how Schumacher, then at the peak of his fame and success with Ferrari, had handed out the trophies in the German karting championship at the Schumacher family-owned circuit in Kerpen. Schumacher, he said, had spoken to the fans and every competitor and only now, as a champion himself, did he realise how much time he had set aside from a busy schedule. “When I met him the first time, obviously I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t want to ask something stupid,” said the Red Bull driver. “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.” Vettel, who was once nicknamed ‘Baby Schumi’ and Schumacher have become firm friends since the older German returned to the sport as a Mercedes driver in 2010 for a comeback that has delivered far less than he had hoped. The two have also competed together as a team in the annual Race of Champions event, winning it for the past five years and preparing for a sixth victory in Bangkok next month. Asked whether there was “a certain sadness” in his imminent retirement, Schumacher – winner of a record 91 races with Benetton and Ferrari – replied: “Probably not, no. “I have tried that mission to end successful,” he added. “It didn’t work this time but I’m quite happy to finish from here and go for a different life again.” Subbed by AJN. Tweet Related NewsRicciardo: I enjoyed my years at Toro Rosso but I’m pleased to be moving on to Red BullVettel sad that phenomenal year of F1 dominance is now overWebber leaves Formula 1 respected and proud after amazing journeyRed Bull: It was a fitting way to end with a one-two finishWebber: In this sport, it’s not always easy to show the person that’s behind the wheelRed Bull: Working on understanding the tyres in both conditionsWebber: When I step out of the car for the last time I will be fine with itVettel frowns upon fans’ Bruno Senna abuseFerrari accepts FIA decision on Vettel overtake and considers matter closedEcclestone: Vettel will suffer no consequence and is 2012 world champion Venezia I am most convinced with Sebastian truly and sincerely giving due respect and honour to the Schumeister! And makes me proud to shift my support to him as he will carry on michael’s legacy as the new baby Schumeister! Fernando by being a spaniard that he is, is thrifty having said that the schumeister changed f1 a little bit. That is ridiculous! Michael was f1 and f1 was Michael! By his comeback f1 was worthwhile watching once more. So it isn’t a little bit. It’s a bit too much to just say in words what the Schumeister has done for F1! Venezia Schumeister and baby schumeister. You would only see that once in a lifetime. The continuation of a legacy! And I am happy to have witnessed it! Long live the best, long live the legend! Carry on his legacy Sebastian, the new schumeister! John Schumacher redefined what an F1 driver had to be. Fitter and quicker than those before him. Senna was the best of his generation, and I wouldn’t compare the two either, but after Schumacher all F1 drivers had to spend time in the gym! Even on an off day Schumacher refuses to blame the team. A lot of drivers could learn from that. In the last three years he’s had a lot of off days, yet he can leave F1 with his head held high. Rosberg kept him honest at Mercedes, and he got the best from the tools he was given. Legend. Butterfly @John: Yeah, I heard about that. He was so fit compared to those before him that he was the only one that could drive a grand prix car and work the strategy and talk on the radio at the same time. He really changed F1. Venezia …and he wouldn’t be too self centered to say to his engineer ‘shut the f up I know what I’m doing!’.. He is really the complete f1 driver!