Formula 1 lost a number of drivers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi and Daniel Ricciardo all being replaced at their respective teams ahead of the 2023 season.
Sebastian Vettel went out on his own terms however, calling time on his stellar career in a bid to spend more time with his family and explore other avenues in life.
The German won four consecutive titles during his time with Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, where he could unfortunately not recreate his success.
During his time in Formula 1, the 35-year-old has shared the grid will an array of world class talent, including but not limited to the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, but Vettel has singled out a different name when asked about the best driver he has seen.
“I think Kimi [Raikkonen] is actually the biggest natural talent I’ve come across, ever,” said the German.
“Just in terms of raw speed, I think. It shows in the car, obviously, but it shows also in any other form of car.”
Raikkonen initially left F1 at the end of the 2009 season after a year driving an uncompetitive Ferrari to try his hand in the World Rally Championship, but returned to the sport with Lotus in 2012.
“If there was a discipline of switching cars, every day, after 10 days Kimi will be lapping everybody else, just because he’s a natural,” said Vettel.
“It doesn’t take time [for him] to adapt to the car, to what the car requires. You give him a steering wheel and he knows what to do.
“Sometimes you just feel it’s unfair, you need to get used to [it] first and get an idea of the track or the conditions, for him it’s just [natural].”
The Iceman as he was affectionately known by fans, retired from F1 for good at the end of the 2020 season at the age of 42, with a total of 21 race wins and the 2007 championship to be remembered by.
The Finn was paired with Vettel for four years at Ferrari, where the fair struck up a formidable partnership but were just unable to topple the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
Raikkonen’s move to Alfa Romeo in 2019 saw the two drivers separated, but Vettel has claimed that the respect between him and his former teammate was and always will be present, as both drivers go down as a couple of the greatest drivers of all time.