Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his decision to retire from F1 was "difficult" to make, having spent "a lot of time" thinking about it.
Vettel announced on Thursday that he will be walking away from the sport at the end of the 2022 season after 15 years competing at the top level.
He has four world titles and 53 race wins to his name, having achieved most of his success with Red Bull in the early 2010s.
BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Ferrari and current team Aston Martin are the other outfits Vettel has represented over the years.
Vettel "spent a lot of time" pondering retirement
Explaining the reasons behind his retirement, Vettel said: "The decision has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.
"At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.
"But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula 1 could not exist."
Of his time at Aston Martin, he added: "I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future.
"I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races."
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Vettel finally appears on social media
Alongside a press release from Aston Martin, Vettel took to social media for the first time with a newly-created Instagram account.
In a special video, which can be seen below, he expanded on the reasons behind his retirement, again noting his children and the challenges being experienced around the world.
"I feel there's so much to explore and learn about life and about myself," Vettel explained.
"We live in very decisive times, and how we all shape the next years will determine our lives.
"My passion comes with certain aspects that I've learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much, much stronger, and has to be leading to action today.
"Talk is not enough and we cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative. The race is underway [and] my best race is still to come."
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