Sebastian Vettel: Retirement ‘getting a bit more real’ as season end approaches

Sebastian Vettel looking pensive in a press conference. Mexico October 2022 Credit: Alamy
Sebastian Vettel looking pensive in a press conference. Mexico October 2022 Credit: Alamy

With just three races remaining in his Formula 1 career, Sebastian Vettel says the closer he gets to Abu Dhabi, the “more real” his pending retirement becomes.

Vettel announced back in August that this season would be his last in Formula 1, the final straw said to have been a dismal Austrian Grand Prix in which he was lapping at the very back of the field.

Determined to go out on a high, Vettel has scored in three of the five races since the summer break which has led to some pundits wondering if he regrets his decision.

But while the Auston Martin driver concedes it’s sinking in a bit more with every race that goes by, he has made his decision and he’s excited for the next chapter in his life.

“It is getting a little bit more real,” he said as per Motorsport.com.

“At Suzuka, I was a bit sad after qualifying and Sunday was a little bit up and down and mixed emotions because the race was so different. It’s a special place and I will miss it.

“I don’t know how Abu Dhabi will be. Obviously, from a results point of view I don’t think we expect miracles all of a sudden, but I also tend to look forward to what’s next.

“I’m excited about what’s coming, it’s not like I completely hate Formula 1 now and I’m happy to get out, but obviously I made the decision and look forward to what’s coming.”

Last time out at the United States Grand Prix, Vettel raced his way to eighth place and was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by Formula 1 fans.

He also hit the 3500 mark for laps led, leading two at the Circuit of The Americas to bring his tally to 3501. It was the first time this season he’d been P1.

Now nine points behind Valtteri Bottas after Fernando Alonso’s P7 in Austin was reinstated, Vettel is closing in on a top-ten position in the overall standings after a slow start to the season.

Asked if he’s thinking maybe he decided to quit too soon, he replied: “No. It’s funny you say that… I think it’s maybe… I don’t know if it’s a thing in Formula 1 or is it a general thing in our lives nowadays that we… to answer your question: no.

“I thought about this decision long and hard and from a lot of angles.

“I find it’s a bit sad that we tend to swing so much now. I see the benefits of having emotions running high and low rather than just being flat but I think the judging in general, it’s a bit too quick.

“We create a hype and too quickly we create like a massive – I don’t want to say disappointment and not because of my situation now, the last races versus maybe the mid part of the season – so it’s more of a general thing.

“I obviously enjoyed the last two races, last couple of races more than I did maybe some in the mid-part of the season, but they have no impact on the decision.

“If anything it’s a great reminder of why I love this sport so much, why I love racing so much.

“I had great races and I really enjoyed them but I also had races that I didn’t enjoy so much and I was wishing after five laps to see the chequered flag and it didn’t come out. So you still have to find the motivation in that and hang in there.

“But yeah, I wish that sometimes it just wouldn’t swing as high and as low.”

Read more: George Russell: F1 will ‘live on’ without Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo

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