Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel will retire once his race is run on Sunday at the Yas Marina Circuit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2022.

The Aston Martin driver had announced his decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the current season, stating in July before to the Hungarian Grand Prix, that his goals had changed and he now wanted to prioritise his family and interests outside of the sport.

The German driver won his championships from 2010 to 2013 with Red Bull and previously spent six seasons with Ferrari.

Speaking at the FIA Drivers’ press conference ahead of his final race, Vettel said, “I guess after so many years and races, there’s the routine of Thursday but I think it’s difficult in a way to grasp but yeah, I’m aware of what’s happening and I’m happy about it so as far as I can be,”

Talking about whether the emotions will be at a high during his final race, Vettel said, “I guess at some point a little bit different, it does feel a little bit different already today even though, like I said a lot of it is routine but yeah, how much and how it will be I don’t know yet, I guess you have to ask me again if you catch me.”

On Thursday evening, the twenty drivers on the 2022 grid also had dinner together to honour Vettel’s retirement. While Vettel may be keeping his emotions in check before it all comes to an end on Sunday, the Formula 1 community have conveyed heartwarming words for the veteran’s retirement. Here’s a look at them:

Lewis Hamilton:

“He’s come back [Alonso], you’re [Vettel] probably going to come back. We’re seeing other drivers coming back, so I’m sitting here accepting, yes, it’s your last race… but… He’ll be back. Formula 1 has a way of sucking you back in. We’ve noticed that from so many other drivers. No?”

Fernando Alonso:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s going to be strange to not have him in next year and the first race. But yeah, I mean, we share, as you said, so many things. Over the last 15 years, sometimes we fought for championships, sometimes for seven places, even in Japan to the finish line, and we still obviously always enjoy every single battle and, and respect each other as much as we could. So yeah, I think my career is going to be linked to Sebastian in a way because we fought for many great things and in the best seasons of our life, probably, and even though it was on his side, the outcome always, I think it’s going be very linked, our two names – or my name in Sebastian’s career, and vice versa.”

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

(With AFP inputs)