Hamilton’s beautiful Vettel tribute: ‘In 30 years we’ll still be friends'

Lewis Hamilton has paid a heartwarming tribute to rival Sebastian Vettel following his retirement from F1. 
(L to R): Race winner and World Champion
(L to R): Race winner and World Champion

Vettel retired from F1 after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, bringing to a close an illustrious career that saw him win four world championships (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), 53 victories, 57 pole positions and 122 podium finishes. 

Hamilton and Vettel both made their F1 debuts in 2007 and shared 10 of the next 13 world championships from 2008 onwards, including directly battling each other for the drivers’ crown in 2017 and 2018. 

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Despite their on-track rivalry, the pair have developed a strong friendship and supported one another in taking a stand against racial inequality, human rights issues and environmental concerns. 

“I think everyone is going to miss Seb,” Hamilton said in an interview with C4. “I’m really grateful and really honoured actually to have the relationship that I do with him. 

“In general I think, building [relationships] with a lot of the drivers, there’s a different relationship I feel I have. It’s growing with them, some less than others, but one I’m really, really grateful for is Seb. 

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at the end of year drivers'
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team with Lewis Hamilton (GBR)…

“A man that genuinely really stands by his word. Full of integrity. Generally just very kind and humble but full of humility. But also compassion. 

“He’s one of the only drivers that stands for something. What other driver here has really, truly stood for something other than themselves? That’s something to really be admired in a human being. 

“He will be missed on the track. I think he’s probably one of the few drivers that I will always… in 20 or 30 years time, we’ll still be friends.” 

Vettel’s retirement leaves Hamilton, 37, and 41-year-old Fernando Alonso as the only drivers who competed in 2007 still on the grid in F1 2023

Hamilton has said he expects to see Vettel return to F1 at some stage. 

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