Sebastian Vettel says his farewell celebration at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix made his retirement more difficult.
Vettel has opted to leave F1 at the end of the 2022 season.
The German ended his career as one of the most established and successful drivers in the history of the sport, winning four world titles and 53 grands prix.
The weekend at Yas Marina Circuit was filled with Vettel remembrance, including track runs from hundreds of members of the paddock and messages from fellow drivers.
Vettel admitted that the celebrations only added to the emotional nature of the event.
“It’s kind of weird, you don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Vettel told Servo TV.
“I’m so lucky to be able to celebrate such a beautiful farewell. The recognition from other drivers means a lot to me. It’s something special, which makes it twice as difficult.”
Vettel, who spent his final season in F1 at Aston Martin, played most of his games in midfield.
His former club Red Bull have won all of his F1 titles since 2013, Vettel’s penultimate year at the Milton Keynes team with his first double since 2013.
Max Verstappen took his second world title by a considerable margin, an achievement that was praised by Vettel.
“I can only congratulate Max – he’s doing really well in 2022,” Vettel said. “There’s never been a Formula 1 driver who came out like that and got a little cheeky right off the bat.
“He already has incredible talent, and when you see what he does with the car, you understand it. He reads the race very quickly. You can only tip your hat to him.”
Vettel did not outline what he intends to do away from the F1 circuit when he retires.
However, he will return to racing in next year’s championship, partnering Germany’s Mick Schumacher.