Sebastian Vettel retained his composure and departed with a song in his final race for Ferrari at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion German finished 14th, one place behind his team-mate Charles Leclerc, to conclude his worst season with the Italian team.
“Nothing about today should get mentioned,” he said, when asked to sum up his feelings after six years as a Ferrari driver. “It was quite a bad race for us. We tried everything.”
Before the race, the team gave Vettel a guard of honour as he walked to his car from the garage to the pit lane.
In the race, his team-mate Leclerc wore a racing helmet that carried a special ‘Danke Seb’ message.
On his final lap, slowing down round the Yas Marina Circuit, he surprised many by singing an Italian song about Ferrari on the team radio system.
It was broadcast around the world. And after the race, he was presented with an enormous trophy by the team he represented and for whom he won 14 races.
“For sure, it was an emotional day with the mechanics waving goodbye on the grid,” he said.
“I felt there was a different dynamic. I am sad for the guys. I will miss them, but I’m happy to embark on a new journey.”
Vettel is set to join Racing Point next season when they are re-branded as Aston Martin, replacing departing Mexican Sergio Perez alongside Lance Stroll, son of team owner Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
(With inputs from AFP)