Damon Hill believes that Sebastian Vettel will return to Formula 1 "in some capacity" following his retirement from the sport.
Vettel took part in his last F1 race at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which he scored his final point by finishing in P10 after starting from ninth on the grid.
It marked another strong performance from Vettel, who racked up six points finishes – as well as several Driver of the Day accolades – during the latter half of the campaign following his retirement announcement in July.
Hill believes that psychology can play a part in enabling a driver to perform well after deciding to leave the sport.
"I'm particularly interested in how drivers can reignite that passion for driving," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.
"If they've got a tiny bit of doubt... Let's say you're doubting whether you want to be a racing driver anymore [and] you're not enjoying it, [it's] very difficult to perform well.
"Once he's made that decision, 'Okay, I'm not going to be a racing driver', and suddenly went back to driving – this is my theory – he's gone back to enjoying it, just for the sake of driving: 'I'm in a Formula 1 one car, I'm going to enjoy myself.'
"And suddenly he's delivering."
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Hill: We haven't seen the last of Vettel
Vettel has yet to decide what his future might hold but, having become known for using his voice to speak out on various issues in recent years, it seems likely that his activism will continue.
Hill expects the four-time World Champion to still "contribute" to Formula 1 in some way.
"We haven't seen the last of him," Hill commented.
"He'll be back in Formula 1 in some capacity, because we're interested in him. He has been a huge part of this sport, so he will be back to contribute in some way.
"But I think he probably needs a bit of space and perspective. That certainly was my experience, anyway."
Vettel faces 'liberating but scary' change, says Hill
Hill thinks that Vettel will be able to step back and see the bigger picture now that he has space from F1.
"It's blinding, this sport," the 1996 World Champion continued.
"You see the world from the paddock, from the grid, from your cockpit.
"To be able to stand back from all of that and see Formula 1 in the context of everything that's happening in the world – Formula 1 will never look small, but it's not the dominant story in the world.
"And I think that's where someone like Seb, he can't help but know that there's something else going on, that you can't control the world in Formula 1.
"It's limited in what it can do, to solve all the world's problems."
With no Formula 1 season to prepare for for the first time in his 15-year career in the sport, Vettel will be facing a new experience next year, says Hill.
"He will be able to wake up at the start of 2023 and make his own schedule, which is liberating but also quite scary," Hill added.
"He's very young. I stopped when I was 40. How old is he? 35, so still very, very young, really."
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