Sebastian Vettel | AFP
The announcement of Sebastian Vettel's retirement shocked the racing community as well as the Formula 1 fans in India. Vettel, who won all three races in Indian GP from 2011 to 2013, never shied away from his fond memories of racing at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Back in 2020, the former Red Bull driver shared a funny story about his time in the country during a virtual autograph session conducted as part of the Russian Grand Prix. Vettel, who won the 2013 F1 race in India, remembered a small party held hours after the win in India and how it turned bizarre.
After drinking too much alcohol, the 35-year-old thought he was imagining seeing an elephant on the middle of the road. However, his driver told him at the airport, just before Vettel was departing, that it was indeed an elephant on the road and he was not hallucinating.
"I will never forget the elephant on the middle of the road. Only in India,” he said.
Incredibly, it was also in India that he confirmed his last and fourth F1 title. Sadly, F1 fined him 36,000 dollars for his "doughnut" celebrations by spinning round in his car seconds after winning the race. Later, the German said that he had not thought about the celebration prior to the race, and it just happened.
Vettel has won 53 races, the third-highest total in F1 behind Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91). He won an F1 record 13 races in 2013.
The German became the youngest world champion at 23 in 2010 and later became the third driver to win four consecutive championships after F1 greats Juan Miguel Fangio and Schumacher, his idol. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has since won four straight.