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Danke Seb: After 16 years, F1 says goodbye to Sebastian Vettel

The four-time German world champion said farewell to the sport after his 299th, and probably last F1 start.

Rodrigo Erthal

Sebastian Vettel, the 53-time German Grand Prix winner has left a lingering legacy with his incredible racing and astonishing numbers. Vettel has accumulated a total of 4 world driver championships, 53 race wins, 57 pole positions, 3098 career points, and 122 podiums. His incredible talent, and his intriguing character, showed why he is idolised by many and why he will forever be missed in the sport

Sebastian began his Formula One career in the 2007 season, when he raced for BMW Sauber and showed that he was the correct fit for the sport, becoming the youngest driver to race for F1 and also the youngest point scorer for the sport. Due to his strong season, he was later offered a contract at Scuderia Toro Rosso, Redbull's second team, where he continued to show why he deserved his seat by achieving his first pole position and first win. Vettel continued to show his abilities and gained a lot of visibility throughout the whole paddock. Surely enough, other teams and drivers began to see the potential that Seb would have in his future years.

At the beginning of the 2009 season, Seb's talent and dedication to the team paid off, as he was promoted to Red Bull Racing, where he would show the world the fearsome driver he was. He went on to take his maiden win at the Chinese GP; coincidentally, it was also Redbull's first win. He continued his streak that year but ultimately became runner-up only behind Brawn GP driver Jenson Button. In his second year for the team, Vettel had blood in his eyes, and he started the first race of the season on pole, but because of spark plug issues, he ended up in 4th place. Not long after, at the second race of the season, the Malaysian GP, he would take his first win of the season and showed no signs of slowing down. At the final race of the season, Sebastian was trailing by 15 points of Alonso; however, the German was able to win the race with his rival, finishing only in 7th place, taking his first world driver's championship, becoming Formula One's youngest world champion ever. He went on to defend his title for the following three seasons, showing the world his abilities when controlling a powerful car. He would choose to leave Redbull at the end of the 2014 season, one year before his contract was supposed to expire.

When leaving Redbull, Seb went red and chose to drive for Ferrari next, along with his friend Kimi Räikkönen. He stated before in his career that at some point in his life, he wanted to drive for Ferrari, giving hints to this statement in the beginning of that 2014 season. In the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Seb tried to challenge Mercedes and their incredible driver pairing of Nico Rösberg and Lewis Hamilton but sadly fell short in both of them due to the sheer power and ability those, two Mercedes had. In the following seasons, Vettel continued to battle with Mercedes, getting the closest to them in the 2017 seasons where he trailed Lewis by only 46 points. At the end of the so-called pandemic season, where races occurred under heavy lockdown, the German was released from the team because the manager believed there was no use in carrying his massive contract and not being able to achieve the feat of a world championship. He parted ways with Ferrari and moved on to the next chapter of his career.

During the 2021 and 2022 editions of Formula One,, Sebastian chose to drive for the British team Aston Martin, where he could not achieve the fullest of his potential but made the most out of his voice around the globe. These past seasons Seb became a huge spokesperson for the sport, protesting about the different issues that were going on around the world and the countries they were racing at. Some of the movements Seb was a part of were: the Black Lives Matter movement, Human Rights, Female Rights, Climate change, and many others. In the final race of his career, Sebastian Vettel finished in 10th place, achieving 1 point. Even though it might not have been the best of performances, he still left his mark on the sport and will try to leave his mark on the world, using his phrase: "There is still a race to win", which goes on to speak about future generations and the lives they will end up having if there are no reforms in the world.

Sebastian Vettel has left an undeniable mark on F1 and the world; his incredible personality and admirable talent have allowed him to become one of the all-time greats and most loved characters in the F1 community. Seb's image will never be forgotten nor replaced by any other driver; his ideals and dedication to making the sport and the world a better place will remind us of how good of a person Seb was. Formula One is losing one of the best drivers ever, and it is only a matter of time before other legends will leave too, so appreciate greatness and, like Sebastian would say, don't spread hate. Danke Seb.


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