Vettel retirement 'understandable' but Sainz hopes he retains voice in F1

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Max Verstappen says Sebastian Vettel's decision to retire from Formula 1 is "understandable".

Last week, the four-time world champion, who made his race debut in 2007, surprised the paddock by announcing that this will be his last year on the grid.

This was despite Vettel's current team Aston Martin "making it clear" they wanted him to stay on in 2023.

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Reacting to the German's decision, Verstappen, while sad, sees why Vettel has called time on his F1 career.

“At the end of the day, he has achieved so much in this sport that it’s fully understandable for him to retire,” said the Red Bull driver.

“I think he’s had an amazing career. He’s won a lot of races and a lot of championships as well.

“Of course, he’s a great ambassador for the sport. So to see him go, it’s something you can see coming, everyone is getting older and whatever it is, retiring. And it’s of course never nice when that moment arrives, especially for Seb’s fans. But these things happen.

“I think it’s important now that he’s just got to enjoy his life with the family because everyone has such a short period of time in your life that you work so hard to achieve all these things he has achieved. Now it’s time to enjoy.”

Sainz Vettel

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who was previously affiliated with Red Bull, also spoke of the impact Vettel had on him and his career.

“For me, even before arriving in Formula 1, [he was] a great role model,” said the Spaniard.

“I was privileged enough to be a simulator driver when he was at his peak in Red Bull winning the Championships and I could see how professional he was and it gave me a very good insight into how you need to behave to be a successful Formula 1 driver like he was.

“I remember those years very well. He always had kind words for me, [he would] stop and have a chat with me and give me some advice.

"He’s a great role model, as these guys have said already, and he’s [an] ambassador for the sport, not only for the sport, but I think also for the younger generation that is coming through.”

In recent years, Vettel has become known for his activism and Sainz thinks he can be an important figure in shaping the future direction of F1.

“[It is the] type of career that you would look up to. Always getting on well with all the teams and everyone in the paddock loves him," he stated.

"You will not hear someone speaking badly about Seb and I think this just speaks about his personality, his life as a human being not only as a driver.

“I think we will miss him but I hope that we can see him back in the paddock also helping the sport to develop in certain areas that he’s [been] very vocal about recently and I hope that he can keep giving us a hand in that side.”