Verstappen recalls Vettel kindness he'll always remember

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team (Right) and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the FIA Press Conference. 20.05.2022 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Practice
© XPB 

Following Sebastian Vettel's final appearance in Formula 1, reigning world champion Max Verstappen has been talking about his memories of competing against Vettel - and a particular moment they shared in 2021.

The season saw a fierce on-track battle between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, and the pair collided at the start of the British Grand Prix sending the Red Bull flying off into the barriers.

The impact was heavy enough for the FIA medical team to insist on dispatching Verstappen to the local hospital for further test and evaluations. But when he arrived back in the paddock hours later, he was in for a surprise.

"I came back from the hospital to get to my motorhome to get all my stuff and he was there, waiting for me when I got out of the car," he revealed to the media last week in Abu Dhabi.

"He said, ‘Are you okay Max? How are you doing? Are you okay?’ And that just shows how he is, you know - a super nice, caring person who is not only there for performance, but also means well.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B. 17.07.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England, Qualifying

“[It's] one thing I will always remember for the rest of my life," Verstappen added. “I think that’s also really nice to be remembered like that. He will definitely be missed."

"On the other hand I also really wish him well for the future, whatever he wants to do, to be honest," he continued.

"I think what is most important is to spend time with family." he suggested. “You know he’s a real family man, and that’s great to see and a great example.

Although they've never raced together in F1 as team mates, Verstappen and Vettel have on similar career trajectories. Both began as Red Bull junior drivers, and their initial seasons were spent at the junior Toro Rosso team.

Both got rapid promotions into the senior Red Bull squad and soon proved their worth. Vettel went on to win four back-to-back championships with the team while Verstappen has just sealed his second consecutive title.

“He has meant a lot to Red Bull,” Verstappen acknowledged of Vettel's formidable legacy in the sport. “He came through as a junior and basically achieved all of it in the sport.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing with Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team in parc ferme. 20.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Race

"He still has a lot of friends within Red Bull of course, all the way up," he added. "He’s had a career which a lot of people could only dream of."

Vettel left the team at the end of 2014 and moved to Ferrari, but didn't manage to replicate his earlier successes while at Maranello. He finished his F1 career with two seasons at Aston Martin before opting to retire.

In recent years he's become an outspoken advocate of various causes including the environment and LGBTQ+ rights leading many to wonder if he will begin a career in politics in his native Germany.

Others have suggested that Vettel will find it hard to leave F1 behind and may be back in the paddock in some capacity in the future, possibly even behind the wheel.

“At the end of the day that’s not everything," Verstappen insisted. "As a person he’s always been very caring. Of course I had my heated battles with him, especially in the beginning of my career.”

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