Sebastian Vettel says announcing his impending retirement from Formula 1 was a 'liberating' experience.
In an Instagram post just before July's Hungarian Grand Prix, the four-time World Champion announced that he would call time on his 16-year stint in F1 at the end of 2022.
Speaking after F1's subsequent four-week summer break, Vettel said announcing his retirement felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, and spoke of the inundation of positive comments he had received from well-wishers and observers.
"I always tend to look forward to the next thing and I don't spend that much time looking back, so it has been less like the people around me expected it to be," Vettel told media including RacingNews365.com.
"I received an overwhelming [amount of] congratulations and support after the announcement in Hungary.
"I find it difficult to reflect all these years in just a short time, so maybe it will hit me at some point later on.
"But I just enjoyed the [summer] break. The fact that the decision, or the fact that I was carrying this decision around with me for such a long time, it felt quite liberating [to announce it]."
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Vettel's approach unchanged despite retirement
With his Aston Martin team currently ninth in the Constructors' Championship, Vettel appears unlikely to add to his tally of 53 Grand Prix wins before the 2022 season ends in Abu Dhabi in November.
However, Vettel added that his impending retirement had not changed his approach to the final few races of his illustrious career.
"I could just enjoy the break and the time I had, and also looking very much forward to the races that I have left,” said Vettel.
"So it didn't feel like a different break. You know, it's not like, 'Oh, this is the last summer break'.
"I think it's difficult for any athlete, man or woman, to know what life is going to be like after you step away from what you've done your whole life.
"But then again, I feel time will tell."
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