Michael Schumacher ( born 3 January 1969) is a retired German racing driver. He is a seven-time Formula One World Champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year twice. He won two titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. After his second title he moved to Ferrari for which he drove eleven years. His time with Ferrari yielded five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004.
He holds many of Formula One's driver records, including most championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions and most races won in a single season – 13 in 2004 (the last of these records was equalled by fellow German Sebastian Vettel nine years later). In 2002, he became the only driver in Formula One history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. According to the official Formula One website, he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen".
After beginning with karting, Schumacher won the German drivers' championships in Formula König and Formula Three before joining Mercedes in the World Sportscar Championship. After one Mercedes-funded race for the Jordan Formula One team, Schumacher signed as a driver for the Benetton Formula One team in 1991. Establishing himself as a top driver, finishing third in 1992 and fourth in 1993, Schumacher became the first German World Drivers' Champion in 1994 by one point over Damon Hill. In 1995 he repeated the success, this time with a greater margin. Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996. Schumacher came close to winning the 1997 and 1998 titles, before breaking his leg at the 1999 British Grand Prix, ending another title run. Things then came good for Schumacher who won another five consecutive drivers' titles from 2000 to 2004. Schumacher retired from Formula One driving in 2006 staying with Ferrari as an advisor. He came close to an eighth title that year, but due to technical problems in the final two races he fell short to Fernando Alonso. Schumacher agreed to return for Ferrari part-way through 2009, as cover for the badly injured Felipe Massa, but was prevented by a neck injury. Schumacher returned to Formula One on a permanent basis from 2010 with the Mercedes team before retiring for a second time at the conclusion of the 2012 season...
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