Sebastian Vettel has revealed that Lewis Hamilton gave him some motivating words after confirmation that he was on his way out of Ferrari at the end of 2020.
Scuderia Ferrari announced that it would not be renewing with the four-time champion in May, before the start of his sixth season in red.
While Vettel contemplated retirement, he eventually signed on with Racing Point, which will become the Aston Martin F1 Team in 2021.
Asked if one of his peers had contacted him to cheer him up following the Ferrari news, the German told Swiss newspaper Blick that Hamilton had indeed done so.
“Lewis called me just after the bad news in the spring,” recounted Vettel.
“We then had a few more conversations or wrote to each other. He always cheered me up and motivated me to keep going.
“And I had several reasons to congratulate him on his great achievements. Lewis would often have had a reason to feel sorry for me,” he laughed.
“Because of Corona, the joint discussions in the paddock had to be cancelled this season.”
About the seriousness of his thoughts on retirement, the now 33-year-old said, “Since I no longer had a future at Ferrari, the question immediately arose: What are you doing in 2021?
“And since the big seats were all occupied, I had to think for a long time. Of course, a resignation cannot be ruled out.
“Formula 1 has been the focus of my life for over 10 years,” he added.
“But there are also many other and above all more important things in life than our sport.
“Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that there is still something in me that wants to continue. And that is why the contact with the new Aston Martin team took place.”
Vettel had hoped to emulate the feats of compatriot Michael Schumacher, who won five out of a total of seven world drivers’ championships with Ferrari, upon arrival at Maranello.
In the end, he could not add to the four which he achieved with Red Bull Racing, which he admitted was a failure.
Another Schumacher will join the grid next year when Mick races for the Haas F1 Team, and Vettel has promised that he will be there to give the second-generation driver advice.
“I was really happy when he got the cockpit at Haas,” remarked the 53-time grand prix winner.
“A deserved promotion after the great Formula 2 championship title.
“But of course, he knows himself that it will not be an easy year.
“Mick can come to me at any time. I am there for him – just as his father Michael was once for me. Now I can give something back.”
Vettel joins Lance Stroll at Aston Martin while Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin make for an all-rookie line-up at Haas.
Sergio Perez, whose seat at Racing Point/Aston Martin was taken by Vettel, has landed at Red Bull Racing where he will partner Max Verstappen.