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Webber questions whether Vettel retired too early from F1

Nearly 10 years on from their infamous Multi 21 moment, Mark Webber has praised former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel's evolution during his F1 career.

Mark Webber has questioned whether Sebastian Vettel retired "a sneak early" from Formula 1. Vettel announced in the summer of 2022 that he would leave the sport at the end of the season, following a 15-year career in which he claimed four consecutive World Championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013. Webber was his teammate for those title-winning years, with the 2013 campaign marking the infamous Multi 21 incident that occurred between them at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Despite this, Webber has a good relationship with Vettel and is full of praise for how the German evolved during his time in F1.

Webber praises Vettel's progression

"Obviously, it takes time to to nurture into a role, with all the optics of your brand or whatever you stand for and all the rest of it," Webber told Australian outlet Speedcafe . "It takes time because that's just the maturity factor of yourself as a professional athlete, and also how the fans embrace that attitude that you put towards your racing. "Of course, at the start of his career, it wasn't overly straightforward! Obviously, I shared a few podiums with him which were quite controversial, to say the least, all around the world. "But, at the end, I think that he's been tremendous with reflection. He's started to bring a lot to the sport, which might not have been the case early in his career. "Results, yes, but in terms of as a World Champion, he certainly did a lot more at the end, which was brilliant. I take my hat off to that."

Did Vettel retire from F1 too soon?

Vettel put in a series of strong performances during his final few races as an Aston Martin driver, and Webber admits that he feels the 35-year-old was still driving strongly enough to stay on in the sport. "He got the timing bang on, I think, [though] maybe a sneak early," Webber added. "I think he still drives very, very well. I told him, 'I think that you got this a bit early', so we've had a bit of a laugh about that. "But I'm stoked he's in one piece, he's had a great career. He was a juggernaut obviously in the early days and, on his day [more recently], he could still do some special stuff. "[He's a] four-time World Champion, [which is] not to be sneezed at, and he'll be missed."

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