SEBASTIAN VETTEL has announced he will leave F1 at the end of the season.
Sebastian Vettel to retire from F1 at end of season
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Lewis Hamilton has posted a touching message to Sebastian Vettel after the four-time world champion announced his retirement from Formula One. Hamilton praised Vettel for leaving F1 in a better place than he found it as he touched on the friendship between the pair.
Alongside his social media message, Hamilton posted an image of the two embracing from when Vettel was still driving for Ferrari. Hamilton said: “Seb, it’s been an honour to call you a competitor and an ever greater honour to call you my friend. Leaving this sport better than you found it is always the goal.
“I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful, and rewarding. Love you, man.” Vettel announced he will retire at the end of the season in order to spend more time with his family.
Hamilton and Vettel appear to enjoy a close relationship with the Aston Martin driver consoling the Briton after he lost out on the F1 title in Abu Dhabi last season. However, there have still been flashpoints over the years, most notably when Vettel sought to challenge Hamilton for the driver’s crown when he was driving for Ferrari.
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Lewis Hamilton has reacted to Sebastian Vettel’s retirement (Image: Getty)
The two came to blows in 2017 as Vettel purposefully drove into the side of Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. But Vettel has been unable to challenge for wins and podiums on a regular basis since leaving the Scuderia for Aston Martin for 2021.
Hamilton joins F1 stars past and present to congratulate Vettel on his career. Esteban Ocon said: “Forever a legend of the sport. We will miss you dearly. Danke Seb.” Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean added: “An incredible career and one of the best driver I’ve raced with. And Seb is one of the best person you can meet. F1 will miss you my friend.”
Mick Schumacher posted: “I’m so sad that you’re leaving, but at the same time excited for you and this new chapter of your life. You’ve been and still are such an important person to me and I’m thankful for our friendship. Thank you for everything you’ve contributed to the sport we both love, I can’t wait for our last races together. Thank you, Seb – you’re an inspiration.”
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Sebastian Vettel has announced his retirement (Image: Getty)
Vettel had previously said he would decide his F1 future over the summer after revealing there were parts of the sport he no longer enjoyed. On making the decision to quit, Vettel explained: “The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.
“But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist.”
Aston Martin’s Lawrence Stroll confirmed the team had tried to retain Vettel’s services for another season. Team principal Mike Krack said: “Sebastian is a superb driver – fast, intelligent and strategic – and of course we are going to miss those qualities. However, we have all learned from him, and the knowledge that we have gained from working with him will continue to benefit our team long after his departure.
“Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team is a great project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian has done last year, and is still doing this year, is crucial. When we become fully competitive – and we will – one of the architects of that future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him for that.”