Sebastian Vettel announces retirement, Hungary Grand Prix, career, stats, wins, Aston Martin

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire at the end of the 2022 F1 season, ignoring pleas from Aston Martin to stay for a third year.

The German on Thursday confirmed he will bring the curtain down on his glittering F1 career that began 15 years ago as a fresh-faced 19-year-old at Williams.

He would go on to become one of the greatest drivers of all time, clinching four consecutive drivers’ championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.

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That was followed by a high-profile switch to Ferrari, where he twice finished second but was ultimately unable to replicate the feats of countryman and hero, Michael Schumacher, in a six-year stay.

Having been dumped by Ferrari after the 2020 season, Aston Martin snapped up the 35-year-old to front the team alongside Lance Stroll.

Two tough seasons have followed and, while the team’s preference was for a third season, Vettel will walk away from the category in November.

His final Grand Prix will be in Abu Dhabi, which will be his 300th race start, making him only the seventh driver to reach that milestone.

“The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it,” Vettel said in a statement. “At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.

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“But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist.”

Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll hailed Vettel as “one of the all-time greats of Formula One”.

“We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that,” Stroll said.

“He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable. He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him.”

Vettel has 53 race wins — only behind Lewis Hamilton (103) and Schumacher (91) — 122 podiums and 57 pole positions.

His 13 wins in the 2013 season remains a joint-record with Schumacher’s haul for Ferrari in 2004. That season saw him claim nine-consecutive wins, which is also an all-time record.

Later in his career, Vettel has used his prominence to speak out against climate inaction, while also throwing his support behind pride and Black Lives Matter movements.

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