Vettel unsure if more competitive car would have changed F1 retirement decision

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Sebastian Vettel admits it is "impossible to say" if a more competitive car would have changed his decision to retire from Formula 1.

The four-time world champion was given a fond farewell at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he claimed the final points position in P10.

His 299th and final start also brought to an end a rollercoaster 15-year career for Vettel, who had a meteoric rise with Toro Rosso and Red Bull before an increasingly tumultuous spell at Ferrari before spending his final two years at Aston Martin.

Though regardless of what position he was on track, the German believes the time is right to move on.

"I still love the sport. I still love racing," he told the Aston Martin website.

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"The decision to retire was a tough one, but I've been thinking about it for a while. I know how much commitment this sport requires, and I feel like it's a good time to do other things.

“Would I be retiring if I had been very competitive over the last three or four years, winning races, fighting for championships, maybe winning another one? I might have come to the same decision,” he admitted

“Equally, I might not have. It’s impossible to say but it has crossed my mind.

“Finishing 10th doesn’t give me a buzz because I know how it feels to finish first, but I’m happy I don’t get a buzz from finishing 10th.”

Vettel's final two years in F1 have seen him use his platform to raise awareness on social issues from climate change to LGBT rights.

Vettel Hungary 2021

And in his goodbye to the crowd in Abu Dhabi, the 35-year-old admits shining that spotlight has been a great source of pride for him.

"I think the last two years have been maybe disappointing from a sporting point of view, but very, very useful and important to me in my life," he explained.

"A lot of things happened, a lot of things that I realised. I think it's a huge privilege being in the position that we are in and with that comes some responsibility, so I hope to pass on a little bit to the other drivers to carry on some of the good work.

"It's great to see that we have the power to inspire you with what we do and what we say. I think there are far bigger, and far more important things than racing in circles.

"But obviously, it's what we love and through that, if we can transfer some of the really important values, that's big. And I think that the last two years have been great for me.

"So, thank you for the support. Thank you for the messages, the letters and all the love in general.

"I will miss that, but it's been an absolute joy throughout my career, so thank you."