Michael Schumacher had a fun day in the cockpit in his farewell to Formula 1

Retiring star also says he's "really thrilled" for his friend Vettel

Last Updated: 25/11/12 10:25pm

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Michael Schumacher had tremendous fun as he battled back to finish seventh in his final Grand Prix in Brazil.

Schumacher suffered an early puncture at Interlagos but ended up battling new champion Sebastian Vettel for a while in the closing stages as rain made the 2012 finale one of the season's most exciting races.

The seven-times champion was driving in his 308th race, and although the three seasons he had with Mercedes after coming out of retirement were not filled with success, Schumacher will look back on them with fondness.

Schumacher's final F1 stats

Starts: 306
Seasons competed: 19
Championships: Seven
Wins: 91
Poles: 68
Podiums: 155
Fastest laps: 77
Points: 1,566
Teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes

"Even under these difficult conditions, my final Formula One race was tremendous fun," said Schumacher. "I would like to thank the team and my fans for their support over the past years. I've enjoyed the time we've spent together very much indeed.

"It has been a beautiful time with lots of exciting moments we have shared, and lots of tough moments.

"It's a strange sort of coincidence I've ended my Formula One career now in P7, which was my first qualifying result at Spa-Francorchamps 308 races ago.

"It has also occurred to me that I was driving with the number seven on my car today and that I have seven world championship trophies in my cabinet.

"Strangely enough, my last Formula One race [in his first career] began with a puncture which pushed me down the running order. But it's always been my philosophy to never give up. There's always a chance, you just have to keep going and seize it when it comes."

Schumacher also paid tribute to Vettel, who could soon threaten his seven titles, adding: "I'm very proud of Sebastian and really thrilled for him.

"As early as the first lap, I suddenly found him blocking the track facing the wrong way, but the two of us both staged great comebacks in the race.

"His performance also showed you just have to keep plugging away, and it's obviously a nice ending if you see the story I'm finishing off here. In a way it does remind me of 2003 when I had a similar struggle and just managed by a point to win the championship."

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