The 2022 F1 season has been tough on fans of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. The seven-time world champion struggled with the Mercedes W13, while the four-time champion bid farewell to the sport after an illustrious 15-year career.
But the Brit made sure that his longtime rival, colleague, and friend got a deserving goodbye from everyone on the grid. His idea? Host a dinner for the legend, and by the looks of it, this new ‘tradition’ is not going away.
On Thursday night, all 20 drivers attended a dinner in Abu Dhabi at Hamilton’s invitation to honor Sebastian Vettel’s retirement. On behalf of all of his teammates, the seven-time world champion also paid the tab. The drivers hadn’t experienced such a gathering since the 2016 Chinese GP, so Abu Dhabi was a welcome change.
When asked why he was doing it, Lewis Hamilton replied:
“I thought it was really important. That’s why I asked the group in Mexico whether they’ll be open to all doing dinner to give Seb a farewell. We hadn’t had a dinner like this since years ago in China.”
He also had only good words for the German, mentioning how good a leader Seb was, and that “he made a great speech”:
“It was the best evening. We were all laughing so much. Great, great stories. Seb is a great leader as well. He made a great speech.”
When asked whether the dinner will now become a regular event, Hamilton said:
“I mean afterwards we were like, ‘Let’s do it all the time!'”
Lewis Hamilton ‘really pushed me to my limits as a driver,’ says teammate George Russell
George Russel (r) and Lewis Hamilton (l) during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil.
Wrapping up his maiden year at Mercedes, George Russell finished P4 in the championship – 35 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in P6.
He stated that there is no better reference than the seven-time world champion and that Hamilton made him ‘push his limits as a driver.’ Hey said:
“I feel incredibly fortunate to be with a team such as Mercedes and teammates with Lewis. He’s really pushed me to my limits as a driver. I’ve learned a huge amount going up against somebody like him in the same car.”
The Brit became just the third driver to defeat Lewis Hamilton as a teammate. Jenson Button at McLaren (2011) and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes (2016) are the other two before him to achieve the feat.
Debut season with @MercedesAMGF1 complete. We hoped for more but I’m proud that together we achieved my maiden pole, sprint victory and race win. Lots of positives to take away from the year and even more motivation heading into 2023. We’ll be back stronger, I have no doubt.“/>“/>Debut season with @MercedesAMGF1 complete. We hoped for more but I’m proud that together we achieved my maiden pole, sprint victory and race win. Lots of positives to take away from the year and even more motivation heading into 2023. We’ll be back stronger, I have no doubt.
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Edited by Nicolaas Ackerman