Sebastian Vettel’s six-year stint with Red Bull Racing came to an end in Abu Dhabi with a frustrating drive from the pitlane to eighth place.
The outgoing World Champion got caught behind other cars and ultimately finished 35 seconds behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who also started from the pits. After the race, Vettel admitted that his farewell weekend had been an emotional one.
“Once you’re in the car, and in that case the pit exit light goes green, you’re back in the rhythm and you do your race,” he said. “You don’t really have time to think about too many things. For sure crossing the line, it’s different coming back to all the previous years. This season hasn’t been great, so jumping out of the car, and not being happy with the race, for now I’m not the happiest guy.”
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Reflecting on the end of his time at Red Bull he said: “I think it has been an incredible journey. Obviously we didn’t expect that when we started working together. You can never expect four titles, drivers’ and constructors’, in a row. Obviously you get to know some people in a very good way, you go through happy days, sad days. I think I learned a lot. That’s why I feel ready for the next step.”
Meanwhile, he expects Mercedes to continue its winning form into next season.
“First of all they are the favorites going into the next season. I think it will very tough for [Lewis] to keep Nico behind, I think they had a very tight battle. I think Nico surprise a lot of people in many ways. I think it will be tight amongst then, and for the rest we will try our best to try and catch up. For now, in terms of regs, it doesn’t look like there’s too much progress being made, with Mercedes blocking the other teams. We have to wait and see what happens.”