The Washington Post

Vettel, four-time champ in F1, planning to retire

- — Glynn A. Hill

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time Formula One champion and the youngest driver to win a title, announced his retirement Thursday. He will leave the sport at the end of the 2022 season, when his contract with Aston Martin concludes.

“I love this sport,” Vettel, 35, said in a video posted to Instagram. “It has been central to my life since I can remember. But as much as there is life on track, there is my life off track too.”

In 2010, Vettel became the youngest Formula One driver to win a championsh­ip at 23, besting Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 title by 166 days. Vettel won his four championsh­ips consecutiv­ely from 2010 to 2013, tying Alain Prost for the third most in Formula One history by the time he was 26.

While Vettel’s dominance gave way to that of Hamilton over the past decade, the German driver finished second behind Hamilton in 2017 and 2018. His most recent win came in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel, who also has raced for Red Bull and Ferrari since his 2007 debut, joined Aston Martin last year. He sits 14th in the drivers’ standings with 15 points this season.

In his retirement announceme­nt, Vettel cited a desire to spend more time with his family and on his personal interests. The latter includes environmen­tal issues, about which he has been increasing­ly outspoken.

Vettel in May said climate change led him to question his role as a Formula One driver. A month later, he wore a shirt and a helmet highlighti­ng “Canada’s climate crime” during the buildup to the Canadian Grand Prix.

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