Norris respects activist Vettel but says young drivers shouldn't 'fill his boots'

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Lando Norris feels young drivers shouldn't be pressured to "fill the boots" of Sebastian Vettel when it comes to activism in Formula 1.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the summer break, the four-time world champion announced he will retire from F1 at the end of the season after 15 years on the grid.

In doing so, the sport will lose one of its biggest voices on matters both on and off the racetrack as, particularly in recent years, Vettel has become better known for raising awareness about climate change and supporting equal rights, particularly for the LGBT community.

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But while Norris has done a lot to promote mental health during his three years in F1, he doesn't feel it should be up to young drivers to take the baton from Sebastian, noting how the German himself has evolved during his career.

“A little bit, I’m not going to fill his [Vettel’s] boots," he said via GPFans.

“I don’t think anyone in their first five years of Formula 1 is going to fill the boots of a guy who is in their final year of Formula 1, and the Seb of now is a very different Seb to the Seb of five or 10 years ago.

“The ruthless Seb doesn’t look so ruthless anymore. If Multi 21 came back, he might abide by it this time!

“It’s very difficult and I don’t think you can put pressure on any young driver to say why aren’t you doing what Seb is doing because young Seb wasn’t doing what Seb is doing now.

“Everyone is different. Some people want to stay out of it completely and some people want to help," Norris noted.

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“There’s no reason why I wouldn’t want to speak up and say things, it’s just in the world we are living in now, it’s not easy to just say what I feel and give my opinion because there are just so many people that will criticise that opinion.

“I just need to make sure that I focus on my job in Formula 1 and I don’t get criticised for doing that before not caring about that completely like Seb now."

At the same time, Norris fully supports those who do use their voice to try and advocate for positive change beyond F1, including Vettel.

“I believe Seb is saying everything and doing everything he can for the best reasons, he’s creating chit-chat and creating headlines which is the whole thing that he is trying to do," he said.

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“It might look silly having some bees on your helmet and stuff like that, but he has created stuff out of it and is doing exactly what he wants to do. I have a lot of respect for that.

“I’ve just got to make the most out of my career, do the best job on track and not mind if people say, ‘Why aren’t you trying?’ because he knows that every day he tries his absolute hardest and is giving his absolute best every day.

“But he just knows what to listen to and what not to listen to and things like that.

“Big boots to fill and I will try a little bit. I’m sure everyone will try a little bit but it’s tough because he’s also a great guy and a great person.”