Images: Sebastian Vettel spotted consoling Red Bull employees

Sebastian Vettel joined the Red Bull family in 1998, meaning he had a long-term relationship with Red Bull's late co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Sebastian Vettel put in a performance that the late Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz would be proud of at the United States Grand Prix, as the four-time World Champion claimed P8 after a mega-late race comeback.

The entire paddock was rocked by the news on Saturday prior to qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas that Red Bull’s co-founder had sadly died aged 78.

Mateschitz’s death has sent athletes and teams all over the world into grief, none more so in the F1 paddock than Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

The late co-founder of the world-famous energy drink company is perhaps the most influential figure in the modern history of motorsport, with Red Bull having implemented perhaps the greatest junior system in the world.

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The brand has nurtured and supported an incredible number of athletes from sports across the planet, including, Red Bull’s most decorated driver.

Vettel joined the Red Bull junior team in 1998, unbelievably, where he was supported by the Austrians throughout his junior career, right up to the point where he joined Toro Rosso (known now as AlphaTauri) in 2008.

He famously claimed Toro Rosso’s and the Red Bull family’s first F1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix that year, before moving to Red Bull in 2009.

Vettel remains as the first Red Bull World Champion and their greatest ever driver, having claimed four consecutive titles for the side from 2010-2013, along with 38 victories.

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The news clearly shocked everyone, with tears having been seen in the eyes of Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who was close friends with Mateschitz.

Another of Red Bull’s world beaters, Max Verstappen, claimed victory at the US Grand Prix, with the win in honour of the team’s co-founder.

Vettel was asked for his thoughts after qualifying on Saturday, where he revealed how Mateschitz’s death was a “big shock”.

“It is a big shock for everyone who has been part of his journey and I am still a bit shocked. I need to recover first,” Vettel told Autobild after qualifying.

The German went on to hail the Austrian as a “very special person” who made the impossible, possible, countless times.

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“I was very young at the time. But the fact that he always treated me as an equal and with a lot of respect, I learnt to appreciate that more and more later on,” the German explained.

“I think he was a very special person who always managed to do what others thought was not possible – no matter in what respect.”

The 35-year-old was spotted being instantly with his former side as soon as the announcement of Mateschitz’s death took place, demonstrating that for one, Vettel is a person whom the paddock simply cannot lose, and still has a special relationship with the dominant side.