Hamilton pays tribute to Vettel: 'We need more like him' in F1

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Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to Sebastian Vettel after he announced his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of 2022.

The two drivers came through the junior ranks at the same time and both made their F1 race debut in 2007, albeit the German doing so midway through the year first at BMW and then Toro Rosso.

Between them, Hamilton and Vettel have won 11 of the last 14 championships, with Lewis coming out on top on both occasions when the pair went head-to-head in 2017 and 2018.

However, responding to his retirement, the Briton says it is Seb the person, not the competitor that he will remember the most.

“Yes, one hundred per cent," he told Motorsport-Total.com. "I kind of knew it was coming, because there were hints, but the implementation is another thing.

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“It saddens me, of course, first of all, that he’s quitting. When I talk about the journey I’ve had in this sport, which I’ve often found to be relatively lonely, I would say he’s one of the few people who made sure I didn’t feel lonely. He stood by me through a lot of things.

“I remember the press conference at Magny Cours in 2007 and how he was very, very open during the drivers’ briefing. I knew then that he would be a strong personality in this sport. He put others before himself and was so brave to speak his mind and stand up for what he believes in.

“We talk about legends in our sport. I don’t really like that title, to be honest, but I think he is one of the greatest people we have seen in this sport. And we need more like him.”

In recent years, Vettel has joined Hamilton as an ally in voicing support for equal rights, greater diversity and protecting the environment, and the 37-year-old hopes they can continue to stand together.

"I know he will do great things outside the sport,” the Mercedes driver continued. “I hope we will always be friends. I hope we can do other things together outside of racing.


“I think when you’re focused on winning championships, of course when we were younger, we didn’t have time to stop and talk about what we were doing in our own lives or what was important to us.

“And so over time, we started seeing each other, taking those bold steps and standing up for things we believe in. He’s been very supportive. I think I’ve also supported him and realised that we have a lot more in common than just the passion for driving.

“He was the one who really stepped into the uncomfortable light and tried to do something with the platform that we have. And I think that to me is why he is so different from all the other drivers that have been here. Then and now.”