Michael Schumacher will head back into retirement at the end of the season - and is convinced Lewis Hamilton is the right man to replace him at Mercedes.
Seven-time champion Schumacher, 43, the most successful driver in the history of Formula One, announced his decision yesterday to quit the sport for a second time.
His departure from Mercedes was confirmed last week when the German marque announced that Hamilton had signed a three-year deal with them.
Mercedes moved for Hamilton as Schumacher could not give them a definitive answer on whether he would carry on racing beyond the end of the season.
There had been suggestions Schumacher would join Sauber, where he raced sports cars in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
But he put those rumours to bed in an emotional statement which means he has just six races left of his career.
Schumacher backed Hamilton to shine as his replacement, saying: "We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I am sure he and the team will have a successful future.
"The team had an option in Lewis that helped me decide.
"I was in the picture when negotiations were going on but I was not sure about myself. I have no hard feelings."
Schumacher's place in F1 history is secure despite an unsuccessful comeback with Mercedes in which he has scored just one podium place in three seasons.
His first stint in F1, between 1991 and 2006, saw him rewrite the record books, winning seven world titles and 91 races.
He will be best remembered for helping revive Ferrari's fortunes after joining the Prancing Horse in 1996 along with Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, winning five straight titles between 2000 and 2004.
He set new standards for driver fitness and understanding of race strategy as he and Brawn dovetailed beautifully.
Collisions in title deciders against Damon Hill in 1994 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 damaged his reputation.
And so did his ruthless squeezing of former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello towards the pitwall in Hungary in 2010.
But to many he is perhaps the finest driver of all time. Mercedes boss Brawn called him "the greatest driver of this century" during his retirement announcement.
And Hamilton, speaking before Schumacher announced his decision, admitted: "I don't see myself as replacing Michael. I don't think anyone can replace Michael. He's a legend in the sport. He has achieved so much already.
"I feel privileged to have been in F1 at the same time as him.
"I watched him winning all his world championships at home in my living room so to have been on the track with him in 2006 and then for him to come back and for me to get to race against him has been a real privilege so I hope one day I can achieve some of the things he has done."
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.