Sebastian Vettel has made F1 feel less lonely

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Lewis Hamilton has said Sebastian Vettel is “one of the greatest people” in Formula 1 ever, and credits the German for being one of the few people who have joined him in speaking out on social issues in recent years.

Four-time champion Vettel announced on Thursday that he will leave Formula 1 at the end of this season.

In addition to wanting to spend more time with family, one of the reasons Vettel cited for staying away was to focus more on environmental activism, which has increasingly become one of the German driver’s passions away from racing.

Hamilton and Vettel have comfortably been the most vocal movers in F1 on a number of social and contentious issues, such as racial and gender inequality in and out of F1 as well as protesting anti-gay laws. They have both worn Pride colors frequently before races or on racing helmets to support the LGBTQ+ community at races in some countries.

Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, recently set up a charity to help encourage more people from minority backgrounds to take up the sport, and he called for Formula One to do more to address this imbalance.

Hamilton said Vettel was one of the few who stood by him in an effort to promote change.

“When I talk about the journey I’ve felt I’ve had in the sport and often feel like it’s been relatively lonely, he’s one of the few people who hasn’t felt lonely,” Hamilton said on Thursday before the weekend. Hungarian Grand Prix. “He’s stood by me through a lot of things.

“I always remember 2007, a press conference at Magny-Cours and he was very candid in briefing the drivers and I knew he was going to be a strong figure in the sport. Then I saw his success and I saw that he put others ahead of him… He was so brave to speak out and stand up for what believe in it.

“I think he’s one of the greatest people we’ve seen in this sport and we need more like him. Sad that I lost an ally in this aspect of the sport on the net, but I know that on the outside he will do great things and we will always be friends and I hope there are other things we can do together in the outside “.

Hamilton refused to suggest that Formula 1 would be worse off when people like him and Vettel stopped racing.

“No, we hope our work will lead us to a better place. The work that Seb and I were trying to do here, it lit a fire, and sparked conversations to leave the sport in a better place than when we found it and Seb had a big role in it.”

“There is still a lot of work to do, I don’t know if Seb will continue to work in the background in the sport or not. But I hope he is in a better place and we haven’t wasted our time.”

Both Hamilton and Vettel have dominated modern Formula 1, winning 11 championships between them since their debut in 2007.

Hamilton admitted that their bond had improved as they got older, although he admitted they had not had time to meet away from the F1 atmosphere, something he hopes to change in the future.

“I think when you focus on winning trophies and stuff…when we were younger we didn’t have time to stop and talk about what we do in our personal lives or the things we care about. Over time we started seeing each other taking those brave steps and standing up for the things we believe in.” And we were able to support each other.

“He has been very supportive of me and I would like to think I supported him too. I realized we had a lot more in common than just a passion for driving. Uncomfortable light and trying to do something with the platform we have and I think that is why for me it is so different than any Other drivers have been here, in the past or present.”

Hamilton also credited Vettel’s legacy on the track, saying he is one of the best players he has raced against.

“In terms of racing, he was incredibly fast, very, very smart. I think he is a very good engineer, very meticulous on the track. He is just a great competitor in all respects.

“Very fair but also very strong and firm on the right track. He was never someone to blame others for mistakes, he always raised his hand and said it was his fault, which I always thought was honorable.”

Thursday’s media day for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix was dominated by talk of Vettel’s retirement, which was announced just hours before press activities began.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who looks like a strong candidate to replace Vettel at Aston Martin next year, also spoke positively of the German driver.

“We will miss him after so many years, sharing the track together, and having good fights,” he said.

“Obviously I’ve been there as well in all of his tournaments! He’s a great champion and also a great guy, with very strong values, and a beautiful family – that’s the decision too, in this, I heard [it’s about] his family. So I wish him the best, and I hope he will be in the ring in the future.”

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