Michael Schumacher says he feels a sense of 'relief' after announcing his retirement from Formula 1.
After weeks of speculation about his future plans intensified following Mercedes' decision to sign Lewis Hamilton for 2013, Schumacher revealed on Thursday that he would not be continuing in F1 after the end of this campaign.
And rather than be sad about the tough decision he has had to take, Schumacher said he felt some excitement that he could now look forward to a rest after his three years back in the sport.
"If [anything] at all, it is relief," he explained. "We had a three-year agreement and already it was hard work for me to keep the motivation and keep the energy and always go forward.
"With all that I have achieved, it is natural that you think about it a little bit more than maybe being young. So in a way how things have developed, I am actually very pleased.
"I have always been informed by the team, so I knew what was going on and I am quite happy that things have developed in this direction and I am free to get back the freedom I had before."
He added: "I told you at the time [of my first retirement] in 2006 that my battery was empty, and [now] I am on the red zone with my batteries.
"I was not sure if I could recharge them with the time we have available or not, and I felt it is time for freedom again."
Schumacher said the final call on his future was made after Hamilton committed to Mercedes last week - as up until that point he was unsure of his own desires.
"The special moment in a way was obviously that the team found an option with Lewis that sort of helped me find that decision," he said when asked about what was the key factor in him reaching a conclusion on his plans.
"Obviously there was an option for me to do so at an earlier stage and I was in the picture when there was the negotiation going on, but I didn't want to decide.
"I wasn't sure about myself, so it is like this. Sometimes in life your destiny will develop by itself and so it did. But without any hard feelings and without any regrets."