Michael Schumacher on Friday paid tribute to Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine legend whose record of five world championships he matched and then broke earlier this decade.

Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio

Photo by: Bernard Cahier

Friday, the scene of practice for this weekend's European Grand Prix, was the 100th anniversary of the late and great Fangio's birth.

Speaking at Valencia, seven time world champion Schumacher recalled the early 90s, when he actually met Fangio at a DTM race a few years before he died.

"I was struck by how youthful he still looked, even though he was already into his eighties," the 42-year-old told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com.

"From his physical coordination and the alertness of his eyes, you could see what a great racing driver he must have been."

Of Fangio's 51 Grands Prix, Fangio started from the front row on 48 occasions and won 24 times.

He died aged 84 in 1995.