F1 world reacts to Sebastian Vettel announcement: 'Never the same'

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Sebastian Vettel has announced that he's retiring from F1 at the end of the 2022 season. Pic: Getty
Sebastian Vettel has announced that he's retiring from F1 at the end of the 2022 season. Pic: Getty

Tributes to Sebastian Vettel are pouring in across the motorsport world after the four-time Formula One world champion shocked fans by revealing that he is retiring at the end of the season.

Vettel, who started his F1 career midway through the 2007 season and enjoyed his best years with Red Bull, made the bombshell announcement ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

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The Aston Martin driver, who lies 12th in the championship, said: "I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank.

"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."

Vettel became the youngest driver in history to win an F1 world title in 2010, when he claimed the championship aged 23 years and 134 days.

The German is also the youngest double and triple world champion, having claimed titles from 2010-2014 a period of dominance in the sport.

The 35-year-old also shares the record for most race wins in a season with his hero Michael Schumacher (13) and the most podium appearances in a season with 17 in 2011.

Vettel won four consecutive titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 before joining Ferrari two years later.

The German was hired to end Ferrari's title drought but failed - and was ultimately dropped by the Italian team at the end of 2019.

Vettel moved to Aston Martin team ahead of their return to the Formula One grid after decades away.

But the British-based team have struggled for results, with Vettel deciding to walk away rather than continue for another campaign.

He added: "Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin driver - and, although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.

Seen here, Sebastian Vettel celebrating his fourth consecutive Formula One world title in 2013.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his fourth consecutive Formula One world title in 2013. Pic: Getty

F1 world celebrates career of Sebastian Vettel

Seven-time world champion and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton led tributes to Vettel - who has also been praised for his advocacy around issues such as climate change and social justice.

"He has been one of the very, very few drivers in racing history that has stood for much more than himself," Hamilton said.

"He's used his voice in things that I've fought for and stood by me, he's taken the knee, he's gone on his own journey and stood on the grid and fought for things that he believed in, and for the greater good.

"I think he's just a really beautiful human being and I'm really grateful to have been here in a time that he was racing."

Current champion and standings leader Max Verstappen was effusive in his praise for Vettel.

"He has achieved so much in this sport that it's fully understandable for him to retire," the Dutch Red Bull driver said.

"He's a great ambassador for the sport."

F1 fans echoed those sentiments from the drivers, with many insisting the sport will not be the same without the charismatic German.

with agencies

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