Lewis Hamilton is confident Mercedes are "closing the gap" on their rivals following another impressive drive from the Briton at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, starting seventh, benefited from a strong strategy by his team to work his way through the order, overtaking Ferrari's Carlos Sainz for third and then leapfrogging his team-mate George Russell.

The result secured back-to-back podium finishes for Hamilton who, surprisingly, has achieved more top-three finishes this season than title hopeful Charles Leclerc, who has seen his bid to take Max Verstappen's crown crumble.

Ferrari's main challenge in the final nine races of the season after the upcoming break may now come from Mercedes, who sit just 30 points behind in the constructors' championship, and Hamilton believes there is a solid platform to build on.

"I was definitely struggling at the beginning of the race and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to catch the guys up but bit by bit, I was more comfortable with the balance and had a really good start as well," he said on the grid.

"I really want to acknowledge my team who have pushed and never given up in this tough year so far.

"To be on the podium, for both cars to be on the podium twice, it is pretty special for us and really unlucky for George today.

"The other guys still have a bit of an edge but we are clearly closing the gap and this is just an amazing way to go into the break knowing that we have this performance. 

"Hopefully we can bring some more into the second part of the season and start fighting with the guys up front."

Russell started the race in pole position after his surprising Q3 session on Saturday but was unable to stay ahead and admitted he thought the race was there to win in the early stages.

"When it started spitting and we were on the soft tyres at the start I thought we were on," he said. 

"Towards the end on the mediums with the slightly heavier rain I really struggled."

Having secured back-to-back third-place finishes, Russell also praised the improvements shown by his team after what was a poor start to the 2022 season.

"Amazing job by the team. Pole position yesterday and a double podium - we're definitely making progress, so really proud of the work we've done," he added.

Max Verstappen extended his championship lead even further with a stellar drive in Hungary to claim victory having started 10th on the grid.

The Red Bull capitalised on more woes for Ferrari to leave Verstappen heading into the break with an 80-point lead, while Mercedes enjoyed a second race in a row with both drivers finishing on the podium.

Ferrari, having started second and third on the grid, had a race to forget with both drivers finishing outside of the podium spots - with Carlos Sainz in fourth and Charles Leclerc coming home sixth.

At the start, pole-sitter George Russell was immediately put under pressure by the Ferraris behind him but maintained his advantage following the first corner, then opening a two-second window following an early virtual safety car after contact between Alex Albon and Lance Stroll.

With soft tyres losing speed, Russell pitted from the lead at the end of lap 16 and Sainz, on the medium, made an overcut attempt one lap later but remained behind the Mercedes.

Verstappen benefited during the first round of pit stops to continue his charge up the grid, taking fourth on lap 21, while Leclerc came out ahead of team-mate Sainz after his stop.

Still in the lead at the start of lap 28, Russell's performance meant Mercedes had led more laps in the race than they had in the entirety of the season prior to this weekend and Russell, though defending aggressively, was overtaken at turn one by Leclerc on lap 31.

Verstappen blinked first in the second round of pit stops and completed an undercut on Russell, then overtaking Leclerc twice, either side of a spin, with Ferrari unable to find the pace on the hard compound as another strategy decision cost the Monegasque, who inevitably had to take a third stop to swap to the softs.

Hamilton's strategy worked much better and saw him stand as the biggest threat to Verstappen's lead heading into the latter stages, overtaking Sainz at the start of lap 63 and then taking team-mate Russell on lap 65.

Late rain threatened to cause drama on the final lap but Verstappen was able to cruise home for a 28th career win - equalling Nigel Mansell's record of the most F1 wins for a single team.

Ferrari, meanwhile, will now be looking over their shoulder after the break with their advantage over Mercedes in the constructors' championship now standing at just 30 points.

Ferrari's frustrating calls

Plenty of scrutiny has been directed towards Ferrari for questionable calls made during the 2022 Formula One season and the Hungarian Grand Prix added further fuel to that particular fire.

Having seen Alpine's own woes on the hard compound, which saw both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso tumble down the field, Ferrari bemusingly still opted to put Leclerc on that tyre.

The poor performance of the compound was shown when Verstappen, who had overtaken Leclerc, spun to lose the position but was still able to chase down his title rival and reclaim the position without too much of a challenge.

Russell's run ends

Heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes duo Russell and Hamilton were the only two drivers on the grid to have improved or maintained their starting position in every race this season.

Hamilton, starting seventh and finishing second, was able to maintain that sequence but Russell, on pole position, secured a third-place finish and saw his run of improvement come to an end.

However, that finish sealed back-to-back podium finishes for Russell at Mercedes, while it also marked the second race in a row with both Silver Arrows drivers on the rostrum.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +7.834

3. George Russell (Mercedes) +12.337

4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +14.579

5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +15.688

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +16.047

7. Lando Norris (McLaren) +78.300

8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) + One lap

9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) + One lap

10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) + One lap

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 258

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 178

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 173

4. George Russell (Mercedes) 158

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 156

Constructors

1. Red Bull 431

2. Ferrari 334

3. Mercedes 304

4. Alpine 99

5. McLaren 95

Former Formula One race director Michael Masi has revealed he received death threats following the conclusion of last season, declaring he was "the most hated man in the world".

The Australian came under intense scrutiny for his handling of the controversial final race of the 2021 F1 season in Abu Dhabi, which subsequently saw Red Bull's Max Verstappen beat Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to the world title.

Masi did not follow the F1's procedure behind the safety car for the late restart, only allowing the lapped cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to pass rather than them all, which left Hamilton defenceless as Verstappen swiftly overtook him to clinch his first world title.

An investigation found Masi had failed to follow the rules and he was removed from his role in February, before leaving the FIA entirely earlier this month.

Criticisms directed towards Masi were not just professional, however, who has spoken about the abuse he sustained in the aftermath of last season's finale.

"There were some dark days. And absolutely, I felt like I was the most hated man in the world," he told Australia's News Corp.

"I got death threats. People saying, they were going to come after me and my family.

"They were shocking. Racist, abusive, vile, they called me every name under the sun.

 

"And they kept on coming. Not just on my Facebook but also on my LinkedIn, which is supposed to be a professional platform for business. It was the same type of abuse.

"I didn't want to talk to anyone. Not even family and friends. I only talked to my close family but very briefly.

"It did have a physical impact, but it was more mental. I just wanted to be in a bubble. I had no desire to talk to them. I just wanted to be alone, which was very challenging. The whole experience has made me a much stronger person."

Ahead of the 2022 season, F1 made several changes to race procedures, with two race directors now sharing responsibility over the course of the season.

Carlos Sainz is relishing the prospect of battling against front-row rival George Russell in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Russell stunned Ferrari's drivers with a stellar lap in the closing stages of qualifying to snatch the first pole position of his career, with Sainz lining up second on the grid and team-mate Charles Leclerc in third.

It sets up an interesting race in Hungary, the last before F1's summer break, with McLaren's Lando Norris in fourth while the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez begin in 10th and 11th respectively.

While Mercedes have an advantage at the start, their car continues to be a largely unknown quantity and Ferrari will fancy their chances of securing a win – with Sainz confirming the team will be pushing for that goal.

"I'm not very happy with the final result as I feel I could have done a better lap on the final attempt," he said after qualifying.

"However, I prefer to focus on the positives: we are in a good position for tomorrow, I've been comfortable in the car all weekend, and we keep making steps in the right direction.

"I'm confident we can carry the good pace of Friday into the race, so we'll definitely go for it.

"Congrats to George on his first pole. He did a very good lap today and I look forward to the battle tomorrow."

Leclerc is equally confident Ferrari can respond after a frustrating qualifying session, as he too looks to challenge team-mate Sainz and Russell for the win – which would provide a boost after last weekend's crash in France.

"The pace is there and we know we have some work to do," Leclerc said. "I'm confident we can come back stronger tomorrow."

Max Verstappen felt he had the pace to at least qualify in the top three for the Hungarian Grand Prix and said an engine problem with his Red Bull was not serious.

Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez failed to make it out of Q2, qualifying 11th, and the championship leader will start 10th after a power unit issue on his out lap ahead of a second flying effort ended hopes of pole.

The Dutchman had looked ominously fast in Q2, having been behind the Ferraris in both of Friday's practice sessions.

However, he now has a recovery mission if he is to avoid nearest challenger Charles Leclerc eating heavily into his 63-point lead at the top of the drivers' championship at a Hungaroring circuit where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.

Leclerc will start third behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had appeared destined for pole until Mercedes' George Russell snatched it with a remarkable lap.

But Verstappen, having turned the air blue as he lost power, was composed when asked about his car's issues and the task ahead of him on Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: "I don't think it's a big issue but something we couldn't solve on track. It's very unfortunate.

"The turnaround from yesterday was amazing. There was a lot of analysing going to understand what was not really working that well yesterday.

"In a way, that's positive about today, we understood what went wrong and the car was so much better today in terms of handling on a track that doesn't really suit us.

"So that's a big positive for the rest of the year anyway that we can, even on a track where we're not that strong, be competitive, but of course I would have liked to start in the top three, and I definitely think we had the pace for it because even in Q2 we looked very strong.

"So yeah, good turnaround but unfortunately the little glitch we had makes us start 10th."

Asked about his prospects for the race and the choice between a one or two-stop strategy, Verstappen added: "It can be a tough one if you're stuck, I hope of course not too long. We have to just stay calm and wait for our moments to go forward.

"It [the strategy] depends also a bit on what is happening in front of you, behind you as well, so we just need to be on it and be flexible."

Sebastian Vettel's retirement announcement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix has been the biggest talking point on the grid, with the German's departure set to leave a significant void for Aston Martin to fill.

The four-time world champion played an integral part in Red Bull's rise to become an F1 powerhouse, winning back-to-back championships between 2010 and 2013.

Vettel's championships make him an F1 great, with only Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton (both seven) and Juan Manuel Fangio (five) winning more world titles.

In terms of race wins, Vettel is again near the summit with 53 victories, only behind Hamilton (103) and Schumacher (91), while he is one of only five drivers to secure at least 100 podium finishes – alongside Hamilton, Schumacher, Alain Prost and Kimi Raikkonen.

Those regular appearances in the front three have also given him an honour that only Hamilton can equal, with the pair being the only drivers in F1 history to have secured over 3,000 career points – with Vettel having 3,076 ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Singapore has been Vettel's favoured venue, with five victories and 195 points, and the Far East has been where Vettel has excelled in qualifying – securing pole position on eight occasions in both Singapore and Japan.

Throughout the course of his career, Vettel has raced for five different teams – starting with Sauber, where he scored points in his only outing for the team and then signed for Toro Rosso – securing his first pole and victory in August 2007 in Italy.

After 25 races with the Italian team, Vettel moved to Red Bull, for whom he appeared in 113 races, with only Mark Webber (129) and Max Verstappen (130 so far) featuring more for the Austrian outfit.

Vettel also boasts the most wins (38), the most pole positions (44) and the most fastest laps (24) for Red Bull.

In 2011, Vettel was on pole position for 15 of 19 races, an F1 record, and he won 13 races in 2013 – a joint-record alongside Schumacher.

Vettel's era of dominance came to an end at the start of F1's hybrid era, finishing fifth in the standings in 2014 with just four podiums from 19 races, and he subsequently joined Ferrari for the 2015 season.

The German continued to struggle, with just three wins and one pole position in his first year with the Italian side – although those wins were the most registered in a single season for Ferrari since Fernando Alonso in 2012 (also three).

Overall, Vettel raced 118 times for Ferrari and amassed 14 race wins, 55 podiums, 12 pole positions and 1,400 points.

Should all go to plan, Vettel's final fling in his F1 career will come in Abu Dhabi, the season finale and his 300th career race.

So far for Aston Martin, he has a single podium, in Azerbaijan in 2021, and has earned 58 points from 32 races.

George Russell was left with an "incredible feeling" after he upset the odds to claim his first pole position for Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix as Red Bull endured a dismal day.

Carlos Sainz, seeming more comfortable in the Ferrari with every race, appeared destined for pole from his flying lap at the Hungaroring.

However, Russell, having complained of a lack of grip throughout the practice sessions, came almost from nowhere to put together a remarkable final lap and take top spot with a time of one minute and 17.377 seconds.

He prevented a Ferrari one-two after the Red Bulls had been removed completely from the equation. Sergio Perez failed to make it out of Q2, alleging he was blocked by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, and Max Verstappen then complained of a loss of power in the top-10 shoot-out. Championship leader Verstappen will start 10th, ahead of Perez in 11th.

Ferrari are still in a tremendous position to take advantage of Red Bull's woes, with Sainz set to start second ahead of Charles Leclerc in third.

"I'm over the moon. Absolutely buzzing," said Russell, whose team-mate Lewis Hamilton could only manage seventh amid an issue with his DRS. 

"The lap time kept on coming. I came across the line and saw we went P1 and that was an incredible feeling."

Asked if it means Mercedes are back, Russell replied: "I don't know to be honest, we need to look and understand where that came from, there's a few ideas we had.

"There's no points for qualifying. Generally we had good race pace, but the Ferraris looked very fast on Friday, but we are going to be absolutely going for it [tomorrow], but either way that was a pretty special day no doubt."

Leclerc and Sainz appeared relaxed despite missing out on locking out the front row.

Leclerc will have the McLaren of Lando Norris for company on the second row, with the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso behind them in fifth and sixth.

"Mostly we are focusing on ourselves," Ferrari's Leclerc said when asked about Red Bull's problems. "I've been struggling massively with the tyres. I struggled to put a lap together.

"I'm pretty sure we've got the pace in the car to come back at the front. I'm pretty sure we can come back tomorrow."

Sainz looked much more assured than his team-mate but echoed Leclerc's sentiments after losing critical time in the final part of his final flying lap.

"Definitely feeling better and better every race and every qualifying session," Sainz said. "I felt like I had the pace to do the pole position, it went away from us.

"We have the [race] pace; the start and the tyre management will play a key role. The Mercedes pace is a bit of an unknown."


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. George Russell (Mercedes) 1:17.377
2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.044
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.190
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.392
5. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +0.641
6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.701
7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.765
8. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +0.780
9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +1.002
10. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.446

Sebastian Vettel's hopes of a successful first race since announcing his Formula One retirement suffered a setback as he crashed in third practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion this week confirmed he will end his F1 career at the end of the season.

His move to Aston Martin in 2021 has not delivered the desired results, with Vettel claiming just one podium since his switch from Ferrari.

But Vettel was impressing amid heavy rain at the Hungaroring, only to lose control of his rear tyres and spin into barriers at turn 10.

That saw the session briefly red-flagged before it was brought to a conclusion by the Williams of Nicholas Latifi surprisingly posting the fastest time on intermediate tyres on a drying track.

It is the first time Latifi has been quickest in an F1 practice session.

His team-mate Alexander Albon was third, sandwiching the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, with the changeable conditions setting the stage for a fascinating qualifying session.

The session was largely defined by Mercedes' struggles for grip. George Russell did find enough to go fifth fastest, but Lewis Hamilton could only manage 11th.

Christian Horner expects a "lengthy process" before Porsche completes a deal to buy a 50 per cent stake in Red Bull's Formula One team.

Said to have been looking for a return to the sport since 2017, Porsche is set to purchase half of Red Bull Technology, according to a document published by Morocco's Conseil de la Concurrence.

That would allow Porsche and Red Bull to work in unison on a powertrain in time for the change in regulations in 2026.

However, the deal - once thought to be announced at this month's Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull's home race - may be drawn out by the FIA delaying confirmation of the exact specification of those regulations, according to Horner.

"There's some major caveats that we need to get past first before things can get anywhere near progression," Horner said.

"That primarily focuses on what are the final technical, sporting and financial regulations for the power unit going to be.

"Are they going to be fair and equitable for the newcomers versus the current incumbents?

"That is the first piece of the jigsaw that needs to be completed."

Removing the MGU-H component of the hybrid engine and more significant use of sustainable fuels are thought to be among the factors on which Porsche's involvement rests.

"It's something that I know the FIA are working hard on. Hopefully in coming weeks we'll get to see that," added Horner.

"At that point then, we're able then to try and have a further discussion with the guys at Porsche.

"It's going to be a reasonably lengthy process, I would assume.

"The most fundamental thing is, what are those regulations for 2026, and are they attractive enough for an entity like a Porsche or an Audi to come into Formula 1?

"We're really only at a discussion stage and there's so many caveats based on regulations.

"Red Bull has demonstrated its commitment to Formula One, its longevity in the sport.

"Anything that we look at is very much with the long-term in mind. We're not looking at a short-term solution.

"Strategically, it would have to fit obviously within the long-term plans that Red Bull have for its commitment in Formula One."

Porsche was involved in F1 as a team between 1959 and 1964, claiming one race win and five podiums. As an engine supplier, it helped McLaren to three successive drivers' championships between 1984 and 1986 as well as two constructors' titles. It supplied engines to Footwork for the first six rounds of the 1991 season but has been out of the sport since.

Max Verstappen thinks it will be impossible for Red Bull to challenge Ferrari in dry conditions at the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

Reigning Formula One champion Verstappen could only manage fourth in the second free practice session on Friday, with Charles Leclerc almost three tenths of a second quicker. 

Rain is forecast for qualifying on Saturday and the Dutchman believes it will be essential for him to have any chance of pushing the Scuderia all the way. 

"A bit tricky as expected around here. Just trying to find a balance from high to low speed," said Verstappen. 

"Sometimes it worked a bit better, sometimes a bit more tricky but a bit of work to do. 

"I think [Ferrari] are a bit ahead of us. I think it will be hard for us to beat that. But I think overnight we will try to close the gap as much as we can and see what the weather will give us as well. 

"I think in the dry we can't compete, so maybe in the rain we can, who knows?" 

After the disappointment of crashing out from the French Grand Prix last weekend, Leclerc felt Ferrari were on "the right road" with their race simulations. 

"It's been a very productive day, changed quite a lot of things on the car on my side," said Leclerc. "FP1 was quite tricky, FP2 we took the right road so confident that we did the right work for Sunday. 

"It looks like it's going to rain [on Saturday] so we have to be on top of this and obviously put the tyres in the right window, which is always a difficult thing whenever it's raining. 

"This will be our main priority, but hopefully if we manage to put them in the right window, we will still have this advantage." 

Lewis Hamilton said he has "lost an ally" as he paid tribute to Sebastian Vettel, who will retire at the end of the Formula One season.

Vettel, now racing for Aston Martin, confirmed on Thursday that he would be calling time on his illustrious career.

The German is a four-time world champion, winning all of those titles in consecutive seasons between 2010 and 2013.

That success proceeded Hamilton's dominance of F1, with the Briton winning six of his seven world titles from 2014 onwards.

Two years Vettel's senior, Hamilton is sad to see the 35-year-old call it a day.

"My first feeling is that it is sad he is stopping," Hamilton told reporters ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"The journey I have experienced in this sport, often feeling relatively lonely, Seb has been one of the few people that has made it not feel that way. He stood by me through a lot of things.

"We talk about legends, I don't really like that title but he is one of the greatest people we have seen in this sport and we need more people like him. I am sad because I have lost an ally."

Only Hamilton (103) and F1 great Michael Schumacher (91) have won more races in the format than Vettel (53).

Hamilton also believes Vettel has used his platform for good, saying: "There's no lack of bravery in Sebastian. He has been one of the very, very few drivers in racing history that has stood for much more than himself.

"He's used his voice in things that I've fought for and stood by me, he's taken the knee, he's gone on his own journey and stood on the grid and fought for things that he believed in, and for the greater good.

"I think he's just a really beautiful human being and I'm really grateful to have been here in a time that he was racing.

"Watching his World Championships was impressive. I'm sad to have arrived today and seen the news, but I know whatever he goes and does beyond this is going to be even better."

Hamilton's sentiment was echoed by Fernando Alonso, who competed closely with Vettel during the latter's dominant streak.

The Spaniard said: "Not the news that I want. There were some rumours last year that maybe he stops, but this year it came true.

"An amazing driver, a legend of our sport. I spent so much time and battles with him over my career with him. So I will miss him, and not only as a driver, I think he has very strong values and is a very good human being. I wish him the best and we will miss him."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has paid tribute to former team-mate Sebastian Vettel following the announcement that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

Leclerc spent two years alongside Vettel at Ferrari and conceded he was starstruck when they first met, but now considers the four-time world champion to be a friend.

The youngster crashed during the French Grand Prix, and revealed Vettel messaged him to offer his support.

It will be a strange feeling for Leclerc to return in 2023 without Vettel in the paddock, where he has been an ever-present since making his F1 bow in 2007.

"I arrived the first year and I was obviously super impressed and I think I was probably very weird to him because I was shy and didn't know what to say when I was with him," Leclerc said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"But now he's a friend and he always texts me, like he did after Sunday, and always tried to make me feel better whenever I'm going through a tough time.

"Obviously it's going to be strange to not see Seb inside the paddock. I've learned so much driving with him and he’s always been super nice with me."

Vettel confirmed on Thursday that this would be his last season in F1 and, if everything goes to plan, the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi will be his 300th on the grid.

Defending champion Max Verstappen also hailed Vettel's impact and backed his decision to retire.

"He has achieved so much in this sport that it's fully understandable for him to retire," he told a news conference.

"He's had an amazing career, he's won a lot of races, he's won a lot of championships as well. He's a great ambassador [for] the sport.

"To see him go, it's something that you could see coming, everyone is getting older and at some point, everyone is retiring. It's never nice when that moment arrives but these things happen.

"I think it's important now that he's going to enjoy his life with his family as F1 is such a short period of time in your life, you work so hard to achieve all these things that he has achieved, now it's time to enjoy."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has paid tribute to former team-mate Sebastian Vettel following the announcement that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

Leclerc spent two years alongside Vettel at Ferrari and conceded he was starstruck when they first met, but now considers the four-time world champion to be a friend.

The youngster crashed during the French Grand Prix, and revealed Vettel messaged him to offer his support.

It will be a strange feeling for Leclerc to return in 2023 without Vettel in the paddock, where he has been an ever-present since making his F1 bow in 2007.

"I arrived the first year and I was obviously super impressed and I think I was probably very weird to him because I was shy and didn't know what to say when I was with him," Leclerc said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"But now he's a friend and he always texts me, like he did after Sunday, and always tried to make me feel better whenever I'm going through a tough time.

"Obviously it's going to be strange to not see Seb inside the paddock. I've learned so much driving with him and he’s always been super nice with me."

Vettel confirmed on Thursday that this would be his last season in F1 and, if everything goes to plan, the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi will be his 300th on the grid.

Defending champion Max Verstappen also hailed Vettel's impact and backed his decision to retire.

"He has achieved so much in this sport that it's fully understandable for him to retire," he told a news conference.

"He's had an amazing career, he's won a lot of races, he's won a lot of championships as well. He's a great ambassador [for] the sport.

"To see him go, it's something that you could see coming, everyone is getting older and at some point, everyone is retiring. It's never nice when that moment arrives but these things happen.

"I think it's important now that he's going to enjoy his life with his family as F1 is such a short period of time in your life, you work so hard to achieve all these things that he has achieved, now it's time to enjoy."

Fernando Alonso has "options" on the Formula One grid but his "priority" is to remain with Alpine.

The veteran driver's contract with the team is due to expire at the end of the season and speculation surrounding his future has been rife, with Alpine having Oscar Piastri ready to step up.

Piastri may be loaned to Williams for the 2023 season if Alonso renews with Alpine.

While the Spaniard would prefer to remain with his current team, he could not rule out a move elsewhere.

"From the beginning of the summer break, it will be the point I need to sit down and conclude something. The summer break starts on Monday," he said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"All the teams are an option as long as they don’t have two drivers signed. My priority is to be with Alpine.

"We've been working and developing this project together for two years now. We are more and more competitive.

"Probably my wish is to stay. But we didn’t sit down completely and move forward with things. So still everything is ongoing."

Alonso previously departed F1 to pursue other racing opportunities, including at Le Mans and in Indycar, but added that such an offer for 2023 would not tempt him.

"I think I am fresh here [in F1], very motivated. I'm looking forward so much into next year, what the second year of these rules will bring," he explained.

"We race in Las Vegas, we race maybe in South Africa. All these things, they are very appealing. 

"I feel very fast this year, last year was a struggle a little bit. But this year I feel at my 100 per cent. 

"Now even thinking about sportscars or IndyCar it’s like 'not now'. My head is completely 'remove this' and stay focused on F1."

Sebastian Vettel says his "best race is still to come" after revealing he will retire from Formula One at the end of this season.

The Aston Martin driver on Thursday revealed he will quit after his 300th F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in November.

Vettel will end his career as a four-time world champion, with the German great having so far won 53 races and been on the podium 122 times.

The 35-year-old is relishing life after racing, stating: "I believe there is still a race to win."

He said in an Instagram post: "Next to racing, I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula One. My passion for racing and Formula One comes with lots of time spent away from them, and takes a lot of energy.

"Committing to my passion the way I did and the way I think is right, no longer goes side-by-side with my wish to be a great father and husband. The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team, to chase perfection, takes focus and commitment. 

"My goals have shifted from winning races and fighting for championships to seeing my children grow, passing on my values, helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me, not having to say goodbye, and most importantly being able to learn from them and let them inspire me.

"Children are our future, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself.

"Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives.

"My passion comes with certain aspects that I've learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much stronger and has to be leading to action today. Talk is not enough and we cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative, the race is under way.

"My best race is still to come, I believe in moving forwards and moving on. Time is a one-way street and I want to grow with the times. Looking back is only going to slow you down. I look forward to racing down unknown tracks and I will be finding new challenges.

"The marks I left on track will stay until time and rain will wash them away. New ones will be put down. Tomorrow belongs to those shaping today.

"The next corner is in good hands as the new generation has already turned in. I believe there is still a race to win. Farewell and thank you for letting me share the track with you, I loved every bit of it."

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