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The F1 world paid tribute to the retiring Vettel ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel will start his final race as a Formula One driver with his usual competitive sense of purpose and a warm glow in his heart on Sunday.

He will be ninth on the Abu Dhabi grid for Aston Martin, following a qualifying session followed by days of emotional send-offs from rivals and friends in a way rarely seen in the cut-throat world of Grand Prix motor racing.

Two consecutive final dinners with fellow drivers on Thursday and Friday, a run of news briefings, and, after the final qualifying fling on Saturday, a track run at the Yas Marina Circuit with competitors and journalists.

After 15 years, 298 race starts with BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, he heads into retirement with four drivers’ world titles, 53 race wins, 57 pole positions and a chorus of tributes ringing in his ears.

More than that, he conducted himself with a real sense of humanity, mixing a mischievous sense of fun with a serious appreciation of his responsibilities as a role model.

“It will be sad to see him go,” said seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, one of the 35-year-old German’s greatest rivals for years.

“It’s an unexpected relationship and friendship. It’s so hard when you’re so competitive, and you’re both fighting for something you want.

“Of all the drivers I’ve raced with, Seb was the first to pull over and go with me. He was the first to go out of his way to fight for the things that were important to him.

“I don’t believe I’ve seen any driver in the history of the sport do what he and I do in terms of using our platform, being outspoken and taking risks. I definitely see him as a teammate.”

“Danke Seb” is the slogan that can be seen everywhere – a thank you not only for his achievements as a driver, but for his crusades and campaigns as a person who supports equality, diversity and a universal that respect for human rights.

Two-time champion Max Verstappen recalled Vettel’s humanity in an anecdote about his own experience following his crash at last year’s British Grand Prix when, on his way back from hospital at the Silverstone circuit, Vettel was waiting congratulate him.

“How are you? Are you okay?” asked the old man. It was, Verstappen later said, a unique display of compassion and care by a fellow-driver, but one that was echoed by others.

Daniel Ricciardo said he received supportive phone calls from Vettel during his personal fallout this year with McLaren and all team-mates revealed the German was a generous and supportive partner.

Charles Leclerc, who was his junior team-mate at Ferrari before taking his seat, said: “It’s sad for me. It’s going to be weird. I learned a lot from Seb and he’s always been super nice with me.

“When I arrived at Ferrari, I was impressed with him. It was probably strange for him because I was shy and didn’t know what to say.

“Now I call him my friend and he texts me all the time. He did it again this year after my crash in France.”

To mark his final race, old rival Fernando Alonso – regarded by Vettel as his fiercest rival — and young fellow-German protégé Mick Schumacher, the son of his childhood idol Michael Schumacher, will wearing a tribute helmet this weekend.

Long haired leader

His karting overalls from his teenage years when he was European champion hang in the Aston Martin garage along with an original helmet, both brought to Abu Dhabi by his father Norbert whose close support has been with Vettel throughout. weekend.

Many have followed his development from cheeky baby-faced ‘assassin’ blessed with speed, a gift for languages ​​and a love of English humor to the urbane and thoughtful long-haired leader of good cause was sad to see him go.

“The decision was difficult for me and I spent a lot of time thinking about it,” he explained.

“At the end of the year, I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next.

“It’s very clear to me that, as a father, I want to spend more time with my family, but today is not about saying goodbye. Instead, it’s about saying thank you – to everyone – at least to the fans, if without passionate support F1 could not exist.”

Chandan Kumar

Author & Content Researcher for Entertainment & World Desk, reports on world cinema, web series and lifestyle. Like to explore trends in the film industry and build conversations about them. Also focused on discovering regional cinema and good storytelling above all! Official E-mail :- chandan.kumar06@brnews.co.in

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