While he voiced unease at “burning resources” in F1, the German remained a super-fan who bought former champion Nigel Mansell's 1992 Williams car and drove it on carbon-neutral fuel for a demonstration at this year's British Grand Prix.
On track Sunday in a helmet bearing the message “The Final Lap," Vettel had a frustrating race after 16 years in F1.
“We’re just getting eaten up by everybody. Who’s next to pass us? Sitting duck,” he complained over the radio when Aston Martin left him on old tires. Later: "How did we get the strategy so wrong?” After starting ninth he gradually slipped back but recovered to take the last point of his career in 10th.
Despite being hampered by the strategy, Vettel still managed to battle with rookie Zhou Guanyu and fellow veteran Daniel Ricciardo in a combative end to a journey that began with his father giving him a go-kart when he was three years old.
Vettel is keen to spend more time with his family instead of being away for weeks at a time when the F1 calendar expands to 24 races next year.
After spinning his car in “donuts” to cheers from the crowd, Vettel said he felt “empty” at the realization his career was finally ending. “So many flags, so many smiling faces which has been very, very special, very nice," he said. "I’m sure I’m going to miss more than I understand right now.”
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