For many the shock the season was the announcement by Sebastian Vettel he was retiring from Formula One at the end of this season. The quadruple world champion had another year left on his contract at Aston Martin and by all accounts is respected by the team.
All has not been well at the Silverstone based outfit size the takeover of Lawrence Stroll who guarantees his son Lance an F1 race seat.
Vettel conquers Stroll jnr with ease
Many have questioned whether young Stroll is really good enough to drive in Formula One. Sebastian Vettel has outscored Lance in both their seasons together at Aston Martin and currently has claimed 34 points to Stroll’s 14 in 2022.
Today Lewis Hamilton predicts Formula One hasn’t seen the back of Sebastian Vettel despite this weekend being his 299th race and final GP before he leaves the sport.
Hamilton and Vettel both debuted in F1 together during the 2007 racing season and since Lewi’s first title victory in 2008, both drivers have won all but 4 of the drivers’ championships.
At times the rivalry between the two led to on track incidents and harshly spoken words in the paddock. Yet in all their time as F1 drivers Vettel and Hamilton have only really competed for a title once.
Hamilton and Vettel’s rivalry
In 2017 Ferrari had a particularly competitive car and at times during the season it looked as though Vettel was the favourite of the two total the drivers’ title.
However, Ferrari’s challenge faltered towards the end of the season, with setbacks in Singapore and Malaysia on tracks they were favoured to win costing them vital points in both title fights.
Hamilton took the championship in Mexico with two races to go.
Yet during that year there was a flash point between Vettel and Lewis at the Azerbaijan GP. Vettel was leading the championship going into the Baku event.
During a safety car restart Vettel believed Lewis had ‘brake tested’ him and so he pulled alongside the Mercedes and rammed his Ferrari into the side damaging both cars.
Sebastian was awarded a 10 second time penalty by the stewards and both drivers eventually finished in P4 (Vettel) and P5 (Hamilton).
From bad blood to good friends
“Baku for me wasn’t a great moment because what I did wasn’t right….” Vettel mused in todays press conference.
“….I think from the moment onwards… …our friendship got a lot better!” said Hamilton.
“I think we always had such great battles,” Hamilton concluded.
“I was just sitting here thinking most drivers are coming back, like he [Fernando Alonso] has come back. You’re probably going to come back!”
“We’re seeing other drivers coming back, so I’m sitting here kind of accepting that it is your last race, but he’ll be back.
“Formula 1 has a way of sucking you back in and we’ve noticed that from so many other drivers.”
Vettel F1 comeback depends on top drive
Vettel suggested he and Lewis “make a deal so I can come back”. The deal included Hamilton retiring and Vettel getting a Mercedes drive.
Yet Hamilton has a point. Vettel has proven in an average Aston Martin he is still a great driver but the constant battle to make Qualifying 3 and struggle to score points has “worn me down” Vettel said.
Sebastian who is considered F1’s elder statesman also took a swipe at the Haas team boss for not retaining Mick Schumacher for another season.
“Obviously it’s bitter for him and I am sorry for him,” said the four-time world champion. “I believe the team leadership at Haas is sometimes… yeah… I don’t want to say but sometimes difficult to understand.
Sebastian takes a swipe at Steiner
“I think Mick absolutely deserves a seat. The season was certainly not easy for him, here and there, maybe he did a mistake but I think the team was also not blameless or innocent, at least from the outside.
“Now I think he is concentrating on the new task, the next steps that will come, I believe and hope he gets a chance because he has the potential.
“The environment is extremely important for every driver. Even if some drivers make it seem like it doesn’t matter, the driver who doesn’t care doesn’t exist and never has. As far as that is concerned, Haas could certainly have done better. Now it is like this. I think Mick learned a lot and will learn from the situation and hopefully come back stronger very soon.”
"When I think of Seb… He was a bit of a nuisance back then" 😂 pic.twitter.com/znjgtnEloy
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 17, 2022