Formula One will miss Sebastian Vettel when he retires at the end of the season but the four-time world champion has chosen the right time to leave, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said on Saturday.
Horner had a close relationship with the German when he won four consecutive titles with Red Bull from 2010-13, as well as most of his 53 wins.
“It will be sad not to see him around. But I think the time is right for him,” Horner told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It’s not nice to see him running in the middle of the field, he doesn’t deserve to be there. And I think the time is right for him to say, ‘It’s time for me to take time out on Formula One.’ , Horner added.
Vettel has not won a race since 2019, when he was at Ferrari.
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Now at Aston Martin, he qualified 18th of 20 drivers on Saturday after crashing in final practice.
Vettel said on Thursday, when he made his announcement, that he wanted to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests and ideas away from racing.
Now 35, he said he didn’t feel old or physically limited and admitted he could miss the adrenaline rush of racing.
Horner said Vettel had been “unbelievable” in his time at Red Bull, on and off the track.
Behind the thirst for dominance and success, Horner recalls a figure who was both down-to-earth and down-to-earth.
“He worked hard, he worked late, and he had a great sense of humour, so after fitting into the British team, he embraced the culture straight away,” he recalled.
“He endeared himself to all areas of the business, whether he was fetching chocolates for secretaries or learning the lingo in the garage… his command of Cockney slang became legendary,” added the Red Bull boss.
Horner said setting the record meant a lot, as did the support from the fans – especially in Japan where Vettel would insist on taking home every gift.
“Some things were a little weird, but he kept everything, he kept absolutely everything,” Horner concluded.
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