Last week, four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel announced on his Instagram that he will be retiring from the sport at the end of the 2022 season. And we can’t stop crying.
In his announcement video, he shares, “Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others rather than what we do.” We couldn’t agree more.
Although Sebastian Vettel is known to be one of the most private drivers on track, we can definitely say that we see him as much more than a driver. In his fifteen years in F1, we’ve witnessed his personality not simply based on his race wins, pole positions, and championships, but also in how he treats others.
As a tribute to one of the most iconic names in the sport, here are five (other) Seb moments that have made us cry.
When he helped clean up after the 2021 British Grand Prix
The Aston Martin driver had a tough Sunday afternoon in the British Grand Prix last year, as he retired from the race after he spun in a tussle with Fernando Alonso.
But even in spite of a disappointing result, he stayed after the race to help clean up the grandstands of Silverstone.
Sebastian Vettel is a 4-time World Champion that makes more than $30 million annually.— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) July 19, 2021
Yet he spent hours after the #BritishGP cleaning up trash from the stands due to his long outspoken environmental concerns surrounding Formula 1.
Practice what you preach. pic.twitter.com/C3rS9gXHYH
Sebastian Vettel has raced in Silverstone time and time again—he knows the grandstands can take up to 140,000 fans. That makes for a lot of trash left behind.
But that’s just the kind of guy Seb is.
His relationship with Mick Schumacher
As a German driver who debuted in 2007, everyone knew Sebastian grew up idolizing the great Michael Schumacher.
Sebastian Vettel & @SchumacherMick parts of “when we were young”🥺— out of context Sebastian Vettel (@ocsebvettel) July 21, 2022
Both Mick and Seb looking back at their childhood memories with @schumacher 🥺🤍#SV5 #MSC47 #KeepFightingMichael pic.twitter.com/6R1rXFLiVb
And as an F1 legend now himself, Sebastian was also a huge inspiration for another young German driver: Mick Schumacher.
Over the years, Seb and Mick have developed a unique relationship both and on and off the track, and Mick considers him to be his mentor. In this video, he even tells the interviewer that Seb is like a dad to him in some ways.
Mick Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel için “Benim için bir baba gibi” ifadesini kullanmış.— Ekrem Skywalkeroğlu 🇩🇪 #DankeSeb (@tifosi06_) July 28, 2022
Bugün ölsem yeridir ya pic.twitter.com/0IA3xobQj8
We’re not crying, you are.
When he helped build a bee hotel
In between back-to-back race weekends in Austria last season, the World Champion made the time to help out a group of local school kids in building a hotel for bees.
Seb is an ambassador for Bio Bienen Apfel, a project that aims to protect bees as an integral part of our ecosystem. As part of this, he chose the winning design for the bee hotel, which was shaped like an F1 car.
And then he helped the kids build it!
A year after the hotel was built, he visited the spot in Austria again to see how it was doing. “Now we wanted to see who has moved into the hotel and whether it has been accepted by the bees and insects,” he shared on his personal website. “And wooow!!! Not only has it been accepted, but it is ‘completely booked’!”.
He is literally trying to save the world. Heart is melting.
When he stopped to make sure Lando Norris was okay
In last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, it didn’t just rain—it poured. The conditions on track during qualifying were dangerous, and because of it, McLaren driver Lando Norris got into a big accident on the Eau Rouge.
Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin knew the conditions were too dangerous to be driving in, and was concerned about Lando. So, he drove up next to Lando’s car to make sure that he was okay.
In his retirement announcement, he says that identity is about how you treat others. Seb certainly practices what he preaches.
And our favorite: This fan’s personal encounter with Seb
This has to be one of our favorite F1 fan stories. If you haven’t yet, read the post for yourself to find out why we love it so much.
This story tells you everything you need to know about Sebastian Vettel 👏❤️ pic.twitter.com/sVx5uhChvI— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) July 28, 2022
This one speaks for itself. Seb is truly a class act.
Sure, Sebastian Vettel is well-known for his four World Championships and for becoming the youngest World Champion in Formula 1. But he is unique as a driver too because he will not just be remembered for his success—he will be remembered for his big heart.
We’ll certainly miss his presence in the seasons to come, but based on his track record, we know he will still go on doing great things.