Michael Schumacher was born in 1969 in Hürth, Germany. He got into racing at a very young age. When he was four he crashed a pedal kart (which was modified with a motorcycle engine) into a lamp post. His mom and dad took him to a karting track – he became the youngest member and when he was six he won his first karting club championship.
Schumacher’s dad had to take a second job to support his racing habits. He fixed and rented out karts and his mom worked at the club canteen. Michael Schumacher already had his karting license when he was 12. He obtained it in Luxembourg because you have to be 14 in order to obtain one in Germany.
From 1984 on he won numerous German and European karting championships. He went on to compete in various forms car racing like Formula 3, the Le Mans endurance race and Formula 3000 before making his F1 debut for Jordan-Ford in 1991.
During his lengthy Formula One career, Michael Schumacher participated in races for Benetton (formerly Jordan-Ford), Ferrari and Mercedes. He won the F1 driver’s championship in 1994 and 1995 (while he was at Benetton) and in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 (while was at Ferrari). In 2004 it was rumored that he was the second highest paid sportsman in the world. His salary was estimated to be around $80 million a year.
During his career he has finished in the top 3 places 155 times. To date he has won 91 Grand Prix races. He also started races in the pole position 68 times. Schumacher actually retired for the first time at the end of the 2006 season, but made a comeback to F1 when he joined the Mercedes team in 2010.
He’s set a few records since he joined the Mercedes team. Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix for the 77th time in his career at Hockenheim in Germany in July this year. At the Belgian Grand Prix this year he became the second F1 driver in history to race in his 300th Grand Prix. In the European Grand Prix, he qualified twelfth and went on to finish third in the race. He gained his first podium finish since he made his comeback and at 43 years old he became the oldest driver to achieve a podium status in the history of F1.
Check out this video featuring his retirement speech below:
This Sunday will be Michael Schumacher’s last race in Formula One. It seems that has grown tired of the sport. He has been quoted as recently saying “There were times in the past few months in which I didn’t want to deal with Formula One or prepare for the next Grand Prix.” If you’re a fan of Formula One you should not miss the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix this Sunday! His spot at Mercedes will be filled by Lewis Hamilton next season.
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