Michael Schumacher was born January 3, 1969, to parents Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher, in Hurt-Hermulheim, Germany. When Schumacher was 4 years old, his father gave him a pedal kart that he fixed up for him, inspired by some men in the Schumachers' neighborhood who put a kart together themselves. This became Rolf Schumacher's hobby, much to the advantage of son Michael.

Schumacher's luck continued. He crashed into a lamppost, something that would otherwise seem like a mishap if he hadn't started driving at the Kerpen-Horrem, a local kart track, where it was a much safer place to drive. Schumacher was the youngest kart club member and driver. Even though he was the youngest member and he drove a relatively older and slower kart, his racing talent helped him win on the circuit.

Despite the fact that his son Michael was a natural at kart racing, Rolf Schumacher realized that karting was an expensive hobby for his son, a hobby he could not financially afford to support. Luckily, Schumacher was able to continue his potential karting career, with the help of local business people and family friends as sponsors. When Schumacher was 10 years old, Jurgen Dilk bought him a new kart and supported Schumacher, with Schumacher's trophies as "payment".

Karting continued to be an important hobby for Schumacher, but it did not replace his education. Schumacher continued to go to school, excelling in mathematics, English, judo, and soccer.

Schumacher began receiving more recognition for his obvious talent, something that for a long time had only been considered a hobby for him. In 1984 and 1985, he became German Junior Champion and finished runner-up in the Junior World Championship. A year later, Schumacher came in third place in the German Senior and European Senior Championships, while he finished first in both these championships in 1987.

Once Schumacher graduated from school, he began working at a local garage as an apprentice mechanic. The apprenticeship turned out to be advantageous as it taught him about the mechanics of a car, helping him in turn as a racer. Sponsored by Jurgen Dilk, Schumacher moved from karting to single seaters -- Formula Konig -- in 1988.

One year later, Schumacher moved on to German Formula Three, where he was first introduced to Willi Weber, his long time manager. That same year, he went to Macau and won the first heat, but was involved in a corner crash with several cars.

Schumacher's first major championship win was in 1992, in Belgium, while on the Benetton team (since 1991). 1995 could probably be considered his best year, winning nine times in the season and becoming World Champion for the second time, not to mention the youngest double champion. It was also the year he and long time girlfriend Corinna got married in August.

Other highlights in Schumacher's career: Second place in Argentina, Nurburgring and Imola; Champion in Monaco, Montreal, Spa and Monza (to name a few) in 1997; Champion in Canada in 1998. Although choosing his finest season is like choosing Picasso's "best" painting, one has to look at 2004. Driving as if possessed, Schumacher finished the year with 13 wins, 15 podium finishes, eight pole positions, 10 fastest laps, and a grand total of 148 points.

As of the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, "Schuey" holds Grand Prix records for most career race wins (86), most wins in a season (13), most career pole positions (66), most fastest laps (71), most podium finishes (146), and most championship titles (7). As scary as they may be to his fellow competitors, those totals should only rise in the years to come.

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