Grapevine: Schumacher gets Nurburgring corner

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher on Sunday became the first driver to have a corner named after him at the Nurburgring circuit, less than a year after he retired

Grapevine: Schumacher gets Nurburgring corner

Schumacher, who grew up in the nearby town of Kerpen, took five of his 91 Grand Prix victories on the Formula One circuit in the Eiffel hills near Germany's western border with Luxembourg.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be privileged to experience a situation like this," Schumacher told the crowd of 135,000 before unveiling a banner spread on a hoarding around the S-corner at a ceremony at the start of the European Grand Prix.

Schumacher was then the first to drive through the newly named corner, where this season's championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren crashed heavily in Saturday's qualifying.

The former Ferrari driver retired in October and has tried to stay out of the limelight, even though some German television commentators have criticised him for taking such a low-key role.

Television ratings in Germany plunged abruptly at the start of the season after Schumacher's departure. Broadcaster RTL reported the number of viewers fell by about three million to around seven million at races in the first third of the season.

They have since partially rebounded, especially in the wake of BMW driver Robert Kubica's spectacular crash in Canada in June. The success of rookie Lewis Hamilton, whose McLaren is powered by Mercedes, has also helped ratings to recover.

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