Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits that it's "not nice" watching Sebastian Vettel "running around" in the thick of the pack in F1.
Vettel conquered 38 of his 53 wins in Formula 1and all four of his world titles with Red Bull Racing and under Horner's management.
Vettel left the Milton Keynes-based outfit at the end of 2014 and contended for the world championship with Ferrari until 2019 when his form slowly receded.
The German's move to Aston Martin for F1 only further anchored him in the midfield, a lowly position in the pecking order that likely weighed on Vettel's decision to retire from the sport at the end of F1's current campaign.
Horner is sad to see his former driver with whom he achieved so much perform below par, but the Briton reckons the time is right for Vettel to call it quits.
"I’m sure he’s going to go on and do some great things," Horner said last month in Hungary. "But it’ll be sad not to see him around. But I think the timing is right for him
"It’s not nice to see him running around in the middle of the field, he doesn’t deserve to be there. And I think the time is right for him to say, ‘now’s the time for me to call time on Formula 1’."
Looking back on Red Bull's massively successful collaboration with Vettel, Horner lavished praise on the latter, highlighting his remarkable talent but also his equally outstanding commitment and work ethics as an F1 driver.
"Sebastian, in his time with us, was incredible," commented Horner.
"He came as a junior, he wrote a letter to Red Bull to see if they would support him locally and out of that came support from the local market, and then from the group, and then through the junior programmes, through Toro Rosso, and then into Red Bull Racing.
"I think the thing that stood out about Seb, was from the very beginning, you could see he was a very focused young man, and his work ethic was totally Germanic.
"He worked hard, he worked late, and he had a great sense of humour, so fitting into a British team, he embraced the culture immediately.
"He endeared himself across all areas of the business, whether he was turning up with chocolates for secretaries or learning the lingo in the garage – his command of cockney slang became legendary.
"He was formidable in the cars that we produced in that period of time. They were halcyon days in F1 – massive competitors, big teams that we were up against, and some outstanding successes.
"He, at that stage, was very focused on achieving not just success, but achieving and going for records. They meant a lot to him."
And massive success ensued for team and driver as Vettel and Red Bull collected four consecutive titles together.
"He just got better and better," added Horner. "I mean, in 2009, we were a young team, as well as him. And we made a few mistakes. In ‘10, he was the standout driver that year, had a lot of unreliability, and against the odds won the championship at the end of the year.
"In ’11, he built on that. ’12 was a super tough year. He’d only won one race before we left Europe. And then won, I think, four on the bounce to go head-to-head with Fernando [Alonso] in that final race in Brazil.
"By the time we got to ’13, he just absolutely dominated, and then nine victories in succession that he achieved, that was that for me was his pinnacle year. He brought everything together and was just truly outstanding that year."