Vettel highlights 'privileged position' of F1 drivers as he bids farewell
Sebastian Vettel made it clear there are "far more important things than racing" as he said farewell to Formula 1 following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vettel's last race came under the lights in the 2022 finale, where he secured a 10th-placed finish to claim a final point of his illustrious career in his 299th grand prix.
Speaking on the track as he made his goodbye speech, Vettel used the opportunity to highlight the privileged position the drivers find themselves in and implored the rest of the grid to use their roles for good.
"I don't have much more to say, I feel a bit empty to be honest, it's been a big week. I can only repeat, the last two years have been very disappointing from a sporting point of view, but very useful and important for me and my life," he said.
"There's a lot of things I've realised. I think it's a huge privilege to be in the position we are in and with that comes some responsibility, so I hope to pass on to some of the other drivers to carry on some of the good work.
"It's great to see that we have the power to inspire with what we do and what we say. There are far more important things than racing in circles, but that is what we love.
"Through that, if we can transfer some of the really important values, that is big. For that, the last three years have been great for me, so thank you for the support, the messages, the letters, the love in general. It's been an absolute joy throughout my career, so thank you."
While others have returned to Formula One after retiring from the grid, former F1 ace Martin Brundle believes there was a "finality" to Vettel's goodbye and does not expect him to return.
"It has been a wonderful send-off for him. It has a finality to it. There is nothing that suggests this is a temporary farewell, but I'm sure others felt like that as well – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, who came back," he said on Sky Sports.
"This feels like he is moving on and I think he said in an interview that if he is stilling pining for F1 a couple of years from now he will have failed with the other things he wants to achieve in life."