Lewis Hamilton has revealed how he recently left Sebastian Vettel on read, following contact from the now-retired German driver.
Vettel retired from F1 at the conclusion of the 2022 season, having spent two years with Aston Martin after splitting from Ferrari.
Having made his debut in the sport in the same season as Lewis Hamilton, the pair cultivated a strong friendship despite being intense rivals as sportsmen, with both having a keen interest in off-track social matters.
Lewis Hamilton: Sebastian Vettel and I send each other positivity
With Vettel now enjoying a happy retirement at home with his wife Hannah and their young children, Hamilton is second only to Fernando Alonso as F1’s eldest statesman.
Hamilton had been effusive in his praise for Vettel during the German driver’s departure from the sport, but the pair have maintained contact as Hamilton recently revealed to media at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Coming off a four-week summer break, Hamilton revealed that Vettel had messaged him during the gap between Belgium and the Netherlands, but he had yet to get back to his former title rival.
“We message here and there,” Hamilton told media, including PlanetF1.com, when asked whether he had spoken to Vettel recently.
“Obviously, I saw him at the Monaco Grand Prix [Vettel attended the race as a paddock visitor – editor].
“We text every now and then and just send each other positivity. He texted me the other day and I’ve to get back to him.”
With laughter in the press conference as it was pointed out to him that he had left Sebastian Vettel on ‘read’, Hamilton explained why he had been slow to get back to the four-time World Champion.
“Because I disconnected from my phone last week,” he said.
“I know it’s not easy, but I put my phone in the safe and tried to just be present with my niece and nephew. So I’ve been playing catch-up the last few days. But I hope to see him soon.”
Lewis Hamilton looks to Tom Brady and Fernando Alonso for career longevity
With Vettel calling time on his career at the age of 35, Hamilton will turn 39 at the start of 2024 and will be almost 41 by the time his new contract with Mercedes comes to an end.
But Vettel’s early departure isn’t prompting Hamilton to think about slowing down any time soon, with the seven-time World Champion looking to the likes of NFL superstar Tom Brady, who continued to ply his trade in his mid-40s, as well as gridmate Fernando Alonso – the Spaniard still racing at the sharp end of F1 as a 42-year-old.
“I look at people like Tom Brady, who is such an incredible athlete and has shown what can be done today, so he’s the real role model in that respect I think for all athletes to be able to look at,” Hamilton said.
“I’m really, really fortunate that I’ve been able to speak to him to understand as well what he’s done and what he does consistently to keep himself in shape and he’s expressed it in the media anyway.
“[Alonso] was here way before I was [in 2001] and took that retirement and came back, and is doing an amazing job,” Hamilton continued.
“It just shows that your talent never really leaves you as long as you have that passion and that commitment, you can continue.”