Grown men wept in Michael Schumacher's hometown of Kerpen when his chance of winning an eighth Formula One title in the final race of his career was dashed by a punctured tyre.
Around 750 Schumacher fans watching Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix on giant television screens, many with faces painted in Ferrari colours, turned their mourning into a farewell party when the German driver fought back to finish fourth in the race.
"It's just so sad, sad, sad," said one weeping middle-aged man after Schumacher suffered his punctured tyre.
"Formula One without Schumacher is over," added another heavy-set man who was also in tears at the crowded sports arena in the town near Cologne.
"Michael is the world's best driver," said Holger Hoffmeier, a 35-year-old soldier. "He's a warm-hearted person. He's a really likeable guy."
The tears turned to cheers when Schumacher, 37, who had to win at Interlagos to have any hope of depriving Spaniard Fernando Alonso of the world title, thanked his supporters after the race.
"Now let's party until the liver starts to tremble," said one fan.
Mayor Marlies Sieberg said Kerpen wanted to name a street after Schumacher and was planning a 'Michael Schumacher Day'.
The town also wants to make the driver, who now lives in Switzerland, an honorary citizen.
"Michael's made Kerpen known around the world," she said of the place known throughout Germany as 'Schumi Town'.
The town already has a 'Michael Schumacher Kart Centre' and a 'World of the Schumachers' museum.