Lewis Hamilton bets on the retired Vettel: “I would love for him to return, it would be an incredible option” | Formula 1 | Sports

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Sebastian Vettel has been removed from the spotlight that accompanies Formula 1 for just over a year. That is, more or less, the average window of time that must pass for the current world champion, who has decided to hang up his helmet before age forces him to do so, to realize how much he misses the world Cup. He was passed by Fernando Alonso, who spent two seasons away (2019 and 2020), touring the endurance championships, Indianapolis and the Dakar, before returning to the ‘Great Circus’ with Alpine (2021). At 42 years old, the Spaniard is still there, and he seems to have enough energy for a while. Before him did Kimi Raikkonen, who had no problem raising the money that Ferrari compensated him with to leave the wheel to Alonso (2010), and two years later (2012) he rejoined Lotus. In recent times, a series of indications have been emerging that suggest that Vettel may be the next to return to the competition that made him one of the five best drivers ever if we take into account his track record.

Vettel competed uninterruptedly from his circumstantial debut with Sauber, in 2007, and until he said goodbye, dressed in the Aston Martin suit, in 2022. The Heppenheim racer is seen as the first success of the Red Bull training program, the Junior Team. His four consecutive titles as the flag bearer of the red buffalo brand (2009-2013), placed in a car almost as dominant as the current RB20, promoted his signing for Ferrari (2015), with whom he raced for six years, until 2020, with two runners-up (2017 and 2018) as the best result. With his time in the ‘Prancing Horse’ exhausted, the four-time champion sought accommodation at Aston Martin, where the Silverstone (Great Britain) troop did not have, far from it, the car that fell into the hands of Alonso last year, and with which The Asturian stood on the podium eight times. With only one podium in two years dressed in green, Baby Schumi decided to leave it to dedicate himself to his family and his other great fixation: bees. Precisely in Suzuka, where the fourth stop on the calendar is held this weekend, Vettel promoted the initiative – ‘Buzzin Corner’ – in 2023, with the intention of using the Japanese Grand Prix as a loudspeaker to raise awareness in the world of the importance of preserve the biodiversity of the planet. The German built 11 beehives in Turn 2 of Suzuka, whose curbs were painted yellow and black.

At 36 years old, Vettel must have realized that he can continue doing all of the above, and combine it with racing, the driving force of his life. At least, that is what emerges from the statements he has been making lately, in which he did not rule out a hypothetical return to F1. A few days ago, in fact, he got behind the wheel of one of those Porsches that compete in Le Mans, in Aragon, in a test that sparked all kinds of rumors. A noise that Lewis Hamilton was responsible for fueling from Suzuka, by classifying Vettel as the ideal substitute to fill the vacant position that he will leave at Mercedes, when he joins Ferrari next season.

There is no shortage of candidates for the gap that the multi-time champion will leave. In addition to the young Kimi Antonelli, from the star manufacturer’s youth team, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso are two of the most popular names. Max Verstappen himself has become a target for Mercedes, in case the internal rigmarole at Red Bull ends up exploding and leading the Dutchman to want a change of scenery. However, Hamilton’s favorite is clear. “I would love for ‘Seb’ to come back,” said the Briton, from Japan, where rain marked the first day of rehearsals. “I think he would be an incredible option: he is German, he has won the title several times and he is someone with incredible values, who would keep this team moving forward,” added the Stevenage rider. “Sebastián is a great person, and his personality is missed,” Hamilton said.

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