All 20 drivers in the 2022 Formula 1 field gathered for dinner this week to celebrate the career of Sebastian Vettel before his final start in this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Vettel, a four-time World Champion, will finish his career this weekendat the conclusion of the 2022 season.
The dinner took place before the first day of practice at Yas Marina Circuit, and it quickly became the subject of many drivers' social media posts. Among the drivers who posted about the dinner include George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and many more.
The dinner was among a number of tributes to Vettel that have already taken place and will be featured throughout the weekend. Fernando Alonso, Vettel's contemporary and longtime rival, revealed a special helmet he will wear in Vettel's honor. Lewis Hamilton, another one of Vettel's longtime competitors, predicted that the 35-year-old German would one day be back on the grid. World Champion Max Verstappen, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude toward Vettel for checking on him after he was hospitalized following a crash in last year's British Grand Prix.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Vettel said that he feels "okay" as he begins to experience the emotions of his final race weekend.
"I think it's difficult in a way to grasp, but yeah, I am aware of what's happening and I'm happy about it. As far as I can be," Vettel said. "I guess it will be, at some point, a little bit different. It does feel a little bit different already today even though, like I said, a lot of it is routine. How much and how it will be, I don't know yet. I guess you'll have to ask me again if you catch me."
Vettel won four World Championships in a row from 2010 to 2013, tying him with Alain Prost for the fourth-most in F1 history. His 53 career Grand Prix victories are the third-most all-time, behind only Michael Schumacher's 91 and Lewis Hamilton's 103.