Michael Schumacher admitted Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes was enough to convince himl to turn his back on Formula One for a second time.

The 43-year-old was left without a seat with the German marque for next season after Hamilton's switch from McLaren on a three-year deal was confirmed last week.

With very few options available to him, Schumacher felt the time was right to end a two-part career that saw him claim an unprecedented seven world titles and 91 race victories.

He said: "We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I am sure he and the team will have a successful future," he said.

"The team had an option in Lewis that helped me decide.

"I was in the picture when negotiations were going on but I was not sure about myself. I have no hard feelings."

Schumacher's retirement, in spite of a second stint in the sport that yielded just one podium in three seasons, leaves Hamilton facing the daunting task of replacing the most successful driver in the history of the sport.

"I was in the picture when negotiations were going on but I was not sure about myself. I have no hard feelings." - Michael Schumacher

But the Briton is keen to stress he does not see himself as a direct replacement for Schumacher.

"I don't see myself as replacing Michael. I don't think anyone can replace Michael, he's a legend in the sport, he has achieved so much already," he said.

"I feel privileged to have been in F1 at the same time as him. I watched him winning all his world championships at home in my living room so to have been on the track with him in 2006 and then for him to come back and for me to get to race against him has been a real privilege .

"I hope one day I can achieve some of the things he has done."

Schumacher crashes in practice

While Hamilton is well aware of the challenge facing him next year, for now he is only focusing on ensuring he leaves McLaren as world champion.

The 2008 champion retired while leading in Singapore last time out to fall 52 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso with six races remaining.

Hamilton has never won at Suzuka but, with McLaren having the car to beat at the last four races, is hopeful of adding victory here to his CV.

"I love coming here," he said. "The whole trip has been fantastic so far and the track is one of the best tracks in the world.

"It is not one that I have won at before but I think we have a car to win and hopefully it's a better weekend."