Sebastian Vettel will retire from F1 at the end of the 2022 season, calling time on a 15-year career at the top level of single-seater competition.
As the paddock assembled in Hungary on Thursday, F1 drivers shared their thoughts on Vettel’s achievements and what might be next for the German.
With the dust settling on the announcement, RacingNews365.com has compiled a selection of these tributes from up and down the grid.
“He’s achieved so much in the sport that it’s fully understandable for him to retire. I think he’s had an amazing career and he’s a great ambassador for the sport. It’s something that you could see coming; everyone is getting older and at one point everyone is going to retire.
“Of course, it’s never nice when that moment arrives, especially for Seb’s fans! But these things happen. I think it’s important that he’s just going to enjoy his life with the family. You work so hard to achieve all these things he’s achieved, and now it’s time to enjoy.”
“It’s been an honour to call you a competitor and an even greater honour to call you my friend. You’re leaving this sport better than you found it, which is always the goal. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful and rewarding. Love you, man.”
“It’s sad. At least it’s sad for me. Maybe for him he’s much happier in the place he’s going now. Obviously, it’s gonna be strange to not see Seb inside the paddock. I’ve learned so much driving with him [as teammates at Ferrari] and he’s always been super nice with me.
“He’s a friend and he always texts me, like he did after [I crashed on] Sunday. He always tries to make me feel better whenever I’m going through a tough time. I will definitely miss Seb, but I wish him the best and I’m sure that he will find other things that will make him happy.”
“We will miss him after so many years, sharing the track together. Obviously, in all his championships, I was somehow in the [fight] as well! He’s a great champion and also a great man with very strong values and a lovely family. I’m wishing him the best. I think Lewis and Seb, both of them I shared most of my time [with] here.
“Michael [Schumacher] will remain always maybe my top pick (biggest opponent), because I was fighting for the championship with him and I grew up watching him in F1. I learned so many things from Michael and then with Lewis and Seb, the three of us shared a lot.”
“In a way [it’s] sad, of course, because you’re losing a bit of a legend of the sport, really. Obviously, personally, I’ve spent some time alongside him, which was for sure a privilege. It’s one of those ones; you’re sad but also happy for him to start chapter two.
“I learned a lot in 2014 alongside him [at Red Bull] and even before that when I was a reserve driver, just being around the team and watching how he would work – it was interesting. He had a lot of good traits and a way to get people behind him and rally, but also be very direct. It was cool. He’s a very, very driven individual. We’ll certainly miss him, but I wish him well.”
“I wish him all the best in the future that he has ahead. I’m sure he’s going to enjoy it a lot with his kids and family. For me, since the beginning, even before arriving to F1, he was a great role model. I was privileged enough to be a simulator driver when he was at his peak at Red Bull, winning the championships, and I could see how professional he was.
“It gave me a very good insight into how you need to behave and how you need to be a successful F1 driver like he was. I remember those years very well. He always had kind words for me, he stopped and had a chat with me to give me some advice. He’s an ambassador for the sport, but not only for the sport – also for the younger generation that is coming through.”
“He’s such an inspiration and such a humble bloke. Nobody’s got a bad word to say about Seb. He’s good fun to be around. I’m sure he’s looking forward to firstly, the last half of the season, but also everything he’s got planned for the future – [with his] family, kids, wife.”
“I feel very proud of Seb for what he’s achieved. He’s a legend of the sport. He’s a great guy; he’s always been very fair, very vocal. He’s been very successful and has a beautiful family.
“It’s like everything that you would hope for a colleague to achieve. I wish the best to him and his family. Luckily now he has social media, so we won’t miss him that much!”
“He’s achieved so much in the sport. I’ve really enjoyed working alongside Seb for the last year and a half. We still have half a season to go, but it’s been great. This was a chapter in his life, but he’s moving on and he has family at home and other things to look forward to.
“It’s been an incredible career for him and I wish him all the best going forward. He’s been a great team player and someone that’s been really easy to work alongside. It’s been fun.”