The Formula 1 drivers did not sweeten their poignant tribute to one of the sport’s greatest drivers on and off the track, Sebastian Vettel.
The Aston Martin driver has announced via Instagram that he will retire from F1 at the end of the season. During his legendary career, he recorded four world championships (from ’10 to ’13), 53 race wins and 122 podiums. There are still 10 races left on the calendar.
But its impact went beyond just running, as Vettel never hesitated to talk about environmental or human rights issues.
“There is no lack of courage in Sebastian,” said Lewis Hamilton Sky Sports Thursday. “He was one of the very few drivers in racing history who represented much more than himself. He used his voice in things that I fought for and he stood by me, he got down on his knees, he went on his journey and he stood on the grid and he fought for the things he believed in and for the superior good.
The Mercedes driver described in his readiness to the media how Vettel has been one of the few on the grid over the years to have been with him to make the change.
“When I talk about the journey that I have felt I have experienced in the sport and often feel that he has been relatively alone, he is one of the few people who has not made him feel alone,” said Hamilton ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. . “He has been close to Me in many things.
“I always remember 2007, a press conference in Magny-Cours and he was very blunt in a drivers briefing and I knew he would be a powerful figure in the sport then. Then I saw his success and I saw that he puts others first. of himself … he was so brave to speak up and stand up for what he believes.
“I think he’s one of the greatest people we’ve seen in the sport and we need more people like him. Sad because I lost an ally on this side of the sport on the grid, but I know he will do great things outside and we will always remain friends and I hope there are other things we can do together outside ”.
Carlos Sainz commented on the type of model Vettel was, even when the Spaniard was a simulation driver during the German’s peak years at Red Bull.
“I could see how professional he was and it gave me a great idea of how you have to behave, or how you have to be, to be a successful Formula 1 driver like him. I remember those years very well, “Sainz said Thursday.” He always had kind words for me, stop and chat with me and give me some advice. He is a great role model as these guys have already said, and he is an ambassador for the sport, but not only for sport, but I also think for a younger generation that is going through, and a kind of career that you would not admire?
“He always gets along with all the teams, with everyone. Everyone in the paddock loves it, you know? You won’t hear anyone speak ill of Seb.
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Daniel Ricciardo, who was Vettel’s teammate, commented that the news was “in a way, sad of course, because you’re missing out on a bit of a legend in the sport.” Esteban Ocon then mentioned that he spoke to the Aston Martin driver several weeks ago, and retiring so early “wasn’t the thought I had” when they discussed his future.
“In our case, he was a great ambassador for all riders and raised his voice … when there was concern for our safety and anything he didn’t like about the riders,” said the alpine rider.
George Russell said Vettel is “such an inspiration and such a humble guy”. Meanwhile, Sergio Pérez commented that he was “very proud of Seb, of what he has achieved”, for Autosport.
“It has everything you hope a colleague can achieve. So, I’m very proud of him and wish him and his family the best. I think it’s a very personal decision. I think it’s extremely personal, it’s how you feel and what you want to do and what your family is like.
“When you get older you definitely put other priorities in place, and then you’re not willing to pay the price of being an F1 driver because it comes with a price. Sometimes you are and sometimes you are not. “
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who was Vettel’s teammate, said the announcement was “sad”, at least for him.
“Maybe he’s much happier for him where he’s going now. Obviously it will be strange not to see Seb in the paddock. I have learned so much to ride with him and he has always been very nice to me. I will definitely miss having Seb in the paddock, but I wish him the best and I’m sure he will find other things that will make him happy in another way. “
Mick Schumacher, meanwhile, described Vettel’s departure will leave a “huge hole” in the sport. The duo had made a close friendship over the years and Vettel sent a message to Schumacher on Thursday morning about his retirement.
“It’s a lot more than just races,” said Schumacher, for Autosport. “It’s being able to visit him in the evening and have dinner with him. This is what I will really miss. He’s just someone I can talk to in my language. He will be super, very much missed by everyone, but especially by me “.
The Haas F1 driver added: “I don’t think anyone can replace Sebastian. This is a fact. If it’s not on the right track, it’s in a political way, and I think yes, it’s important to have someone talk and attack those points too.
“But I think Sebastian hasn’t stopped yet. As he said in his video, there is more to come. And I’m sure we can all learn from what he still has to say. I’m sure he will still have a great voice in F1 even if he’s not driving himself ”.
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