Max Verstappen says that Sebastian Vettel’s decision to retire at the end of the 2022 season was “something you could see coming”.
Vettel announced on Thursday evening that he would be leaving F1 at the end of the current campaign, having spent 15 years as a driver in the category.
The German driver enjoyed much of his success during his years at Red Bull from 2009 to 2014, with his latest victory coming for Ferrari at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.
Since 2020, Vettel has secured just two podium finishes as he has languished further down the order, competing with Ferrari and Aston Martin in the midfield pack.
Verstappen admits that seeing Vettel walk away from F1 is not a great surprise to him.
“To see him go, it’s something that you could see coming – everyone is getting older, at one point everyone is retiring,” he said.
“It is of course never nice when that moment arrives, especially of course for Seb’s fans, but these things happen.
“I think it’s important now that he’s just going to enjoy his life with the family, because F1 is such a short period of time in your life that you work so hard to achieve all these things that he has achieved, and now it’s time to enjoy.”
Verstappen hailed Vettel’s impact on the sport, and says that his success in F1 justifies his decision to walk away.
“At the end of the day he has achieved so much in this sport that it’s fully understandable for him to retire,” the Dutchman said.
“I think he’s had an amazing career, he’s won a lot of races, he’s won a lot of championships as well, and I think he’s a great ambassador for the sport.”