F1: Last lap in sight

Michael Schumacher set the scene perfectly with a trademark victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza before announcing the end of his record-breaking career.

Michael Schumacher set the scene perfectly with a trademark victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza before announcing the end of his record-breaking career.

Formula One's most successful driver will retire in Brazil next month after admitting he could not be sure of maintaining his high standards next season.

He had no problems living up to expectations yesterday and delivered what Ferrari's home crowd wanted before revealing his retirement.

"You have to find the right moment and we feel this is the right moment," the 37-year-old said. "This is going to be my last Monza race.

"At the end of this season I have decided with the team I am going to retire from racing."

Schumacher's chances of retiring as an eight-time world champion look better than ever after his win from Ferrari successor Kimi Raikkonen yesterday.

He moved to within two points of championship leader Fernando Alonso after the Renault driver retired from third with engine failure.

But Renault chief Flavio Briatore could face the wrath of Formula One's governing body - the FIA - after claiming this season's world championship has been fixed in favour of the Schumacher.

He is angry his driver, defending champion Fernando Alonso, was dropped to 10th on the grid yesterday for allegedly blocking Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying.

That decision, and a ban on Renault's suspension system earlier this year, prompted Briatore to say: "This is a world championship which has already been decided at the table.

"They have decided to give the world championship to Schumacher and that is what will be."

After a decade at Ferrari, Monza proved to be an emotional venue for Schumacher to announce his 16th season will be his last.

He confessed doubts over his ability to continue fighting at the front next year and beyond prompted him to end his career.

Raikkonen was second in a largely incident-free race in which Robert Kubica became the first Pole on a Formula One podium with third for BMW-Sauber.

Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth and Jenson Button fifth ahead of Honda team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

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