LANDO Norris has paid tribute to four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, who will retire from the sport at the end of the season.

Vettel, 35, won his four championships while driving for Red Bull Racing between 2010 and 2013. 

He has also driven for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso (Red Bull's sister team now called AlphaTauri), and Ferrari.

He joined Aston Martin at the start of last season and currently partners Lance Stroll at the Silverstone-based team.

Norris, who was born in Bristol and raised in Glastonbury, has competed against Vettel since joining McLaren in 2019.

The 22-year-old shared a picture of himself as a child with Vettel at a formal event with a message of thanks to the German racer.

Norris captioned the image: “A guy I looked up to since I started, literally.

“Thanks for being the role model we need and improving the sport we love. Danke Seb.”

According to The Race, Norris added: “I don’t think enough people know how good Seb is just as a human, as a guy.

“His morals and his character and everything, he means so well in everything and is just so passionate about his job.

“He’s always open for a chat, which is always something you admire and have a lot of respect for when you’re also such big competitors at the same time.”

Vettel announced his retirement on Instagram yesterday after signing up to the social media platform.

In a video, he said: “I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years – there are far too many to mention and thank.

“The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.

“At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.

“But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula 1 could not exist.”

Vettel has also served as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, a trade union that represents the interests of F1 drivers, particularly on safety, since 2010.

Norris and Vettel will both compete in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.