It might not have ended up as an outrageously improbable triumph against all the odds, and he might have left his final Grand Prix without so much as a minor podium placing to show for his efforts. Yet, for Michael Schumacher, Sunday's Brazilian GP - his 248th GP start - provided a fitting finale to his 16-year F1 career.
Earlier in the season, both Schumacher and eventual champion Fernando Alonso had been confident that the championship battle would come down to the final race at Interlagos. And so it did, but only just.
Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher at the Bahrain Grand Prix © LAT
The earlier unspoken belief was that both drivers would be in a position to forge their own destiny by beating the other in Brazil. Thanks to Schumacher's engine failure at Suzuka, he was no longer in a position to win the championship. Alonso was only in a position to lose it. Even if Schumacher drove the best race of his career, lapping the field twice, Alonso had only to scrape home in eighth place to secure the title.
If Michael Schumacher's fuel pump hadn't malfunctioned in Saturday's final qualifying session, and if he hadn't sustained a left rear puncture early in the race, the Brazilian GP would have been both boring and predictable.