The reactions to Vettel’s retirement at the end of the year were numerous and unanimous: he will leave a great void but the most moved is the one who fought him the most, Lewis Hamilton. Thursday afternoon, during his press conference, the Briton spoke at length about the one he calls his “friend, even if we are never seen outside the circuits. »
From their joint beginnings, in 2007, the Briton remembers the commitment of the quadruple world champion. “The first real thing I rememberhe recalls, it’s Magny-Cours 2007 (Vettel had just played his first race in the United States a fortnight earlier with BMW to replace injured Robert Kubica and had just become 3rd driver again). During the drivers’ briefing, he was so strong and impactful in his statements that I immediately thought he was going to become a strong voice in our sport. »
“Seb has always been on the limit. But staying on the right side. He never made a dirty trick.
For fifteen years, they clashed but never any twisted blow, despite these three years (2015, 2017 and 2018) when the two men fought for the title. Hamilton, at the height of the internal crisis with Rosberg in 2016, only spoke with Vettel, ostensibly neglecting his also German teammate. “Seb has always been on the limitcontinues Hamilton. But staying on the right side. He never made a dirty trick. He didn’t need it. He is so strong in technique and so precise in the placement of his car. »
What Hamilton will regret the most, however, remains the commitment of his fellow champion like him. “We are both very close and very differenthe concludes with emotion. We each fight for our causes but he has always been a support in my battles for diversity. And with his departure, I lose an ally. His departure is a reminder that F1 has an end. I’m sad but I’m happy for his family and what he’s going to go through now. »