Before he leaves, Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to his great idol Michael Schumacher.Image: www.imago-images.de /image-images
A circle closes for Sebastian Vettel on Sunday. In Abu Dhabi, on the circuit where he first became world champion twelve years ago, the four-time champion drives his last Formula 1 race. After 15 years in the premier class of motorsport, the season finale in the desert marks the end of the German racing legend’s career.
Vettel faces a very emotional weekend. Chasing the best time for the last time in qualifying, waiting nervously for the last time for the start signal, then surviving the hectic pace in the first corner and ideally racing across the finish line in the top ten for the last time. In addition, the farewell to his team Aston Martin and his fellow drivers.
Perhaps one of them is spinning some donuts on track in Vettel’s honor – just as he and Lewis Hamilton did four years ago in honor of their then-external colleague Fernando Alonso, who is now back in the Formula 1 cosmos.
“I’m sure this race will bring back many happy memories from the past 15 years,” said Vettel beforehand. In racer mode, he continues, “I want to go at a high level, so I go out and fight hard to get a good result.”
On the occasion of his farewell, the 35-year-old also looks back on his beginnings in motorsport. On Instagram, Vettel shows his followers the moment when he first came into contact with Formula 1 – and that was also Vettel’s first meeting with his great idol Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher gave Vettel the go-kart cup as a child
Ever since he first got into a go-kart as a three-year-old, the man from Heppenheim has looked up to “Schumi”. When this Vettel then presented the NRW Cup trophy in Kerpen, on the Schumacher go-kart track, a lifelong dream was fulfilled for the little boy. Vettel has now posted the photos of this moment online with the words “What a day” (Eng. “What a day”).
During Vettel’s most successful period, when he became world champion four times with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, he was able to convince himself of the driving skills of his great idol for two years. Schumacher made his comeback to Formula 1 for Mercedes in 2010 before finally retiring in 2012. Like all the other drivers in the field, he stood no chance at the time against the overwhelming advantage of Red Bull and Vettel.
From 2010 to 2013, Sebastian Vettel was unbeatable in Formula 1. Image: epa/Valdrin Xhemaj
The times when Vettel drove away from the field are now a thing of the past. Now other drivers are in charge: Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have been fighting for the title for six years. Vettel drives with Aston Martin at most for the points, but no longer at the front.
Vettel slips into the mentor role for Mick Schumacher
However, in the last two years of his career, Vettel managed to give something back to his mentor Michael Schumacher. While currently recovering from the effects of a serious skiing accident, Vettel mentored his son, Mick Schumacher, during his first two years in Formula 1.
Mick’s time in Formula 1 also ends on Sunday – his contract with Haas will not be renewed – but the Schumacher scion has already announced he will fight hard for a comeback.
Qatar is expecting hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world for this year’s World Cup. At such a major tournament, numerous journalists and reporters will also be on site – precisely because the 2022 World Cup is so controversial, there should be more reports about the conditions and abuses in the desert emirate.