Abu Dhabi :Michael Schumacher`s Formula One comeback season ended with a smash in Abu Dhabi on Sunday when his Mercedes spun and was speared by a Force India car on the opening lap.
The seven-times world champion, who last stood on the podium as a Ferrari driver in 2006, was fortunate to escape serious injury as Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi`s car ploughed into the stationary Mercedes just behind the German`s head.
The safety car was immediately deployed and stayed out for four laps of the season-ending race.
Schumacher, who stepped out unscathed, had spun moments earlier after being nudged by team mate and fellow German Nico Rosberg as they sped side by side into turn six at the Yas Marina.
Schumacher, who ended three years in retirement to return to the grid at the age of 41, has struggled to conjure up even traces of his old magic.
In his 19 races with Mercedes, his best result was fourth place in Spain, Turkey and South Korea.
The most successful driver the sport has ever seen wraps up his year with 72 points compared to the 130 Rosberg had scored before Sunday`s race.
"As a seven-time World Champion he will be disappointed," McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh had said earlier in the week when asked about Schumacher`s season.
"Let`s be frank, he will be disappointed with this season. He`s a winner, he`s won many, many races. But, it`s a driver, a team, a car.
"We all play a role in our end success and lack of success, so I think anyone who writes Michael off and believes that he can`t be more competitive next year will be foolish," added the Briton.
"There`s no reason why he can`t come back very strongly in the following season."