Sebastian Vettel was left exhausted after his final race weekend in Formula 1 and feels he could have had a better points return but for Aston Martin’s strategy in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion retires from F1 with 53 victories to his name, leaving him third on the all-time winners list. Starting ninth for his final race, Vettel one-stopped and ended up 10th. After a weekend of tributes and events, he says such a tough race trying to fight cars on quicker strategies has taken its toll.

“It is strange,” Vettel said. “Obviously, the exhaustion, in a way, kicks in. It’s been a busy weekend. I think it will hit me at some point probably when I go to bed tonight or tomorrow morning!

“I did (fight hard). It was absolutely the wrong strategy, so it was a shame we were going backwards. So I was really trying; I gave it all I could. It’s obviously been nice but it would have been great for the team to get sixth in the constructors’ but we sort of threw that away with the strategy we chose. I tried everything with Daniel in the end.”

Fernando Alonso had said he would try and protect Vettel on the opening lap to try and ensure he finished his final race and the German admits it was noticeable the way the race started.

“I could feel that a little bit with Fernando — he was very, very generous at the beginning of the race. After that, the Saubers fought very hard because they wanted to defend the constructors’. It was a shame I was stuck behind Esteban (Ocon) in the beginning because I felt I had better deg, but then we stayed out way too long and lost so much time.”

Vettel says his career has been a special time in his life for the way he has developed both on and off the track, and that he’s looking forward to more quality time with his family in future.

“It’s been very special for me to have that kind of farewell, (to) enjoy that. I had a great time across all these years and was able to enjoy success, win championships, so from a sporting point of view it’s been huge. But I’ve also been able to grow and mature in many ways and reflect on a lot of things.

“It’s always been the same rhythm season-by-season…and for me I’m very happy I was able to build so much off the track. I found a partner — now wife — that I’m very, very in love with still after so many years. We’ve got three kids. I look forward to spend more time at home with the dog. So things that might sound really boring (that) I’ve built next to the racing and will hopefully will be able to enjoy.

“Then we’ll see what happens. I’m restless in many ways and interested in lots of things, so give those a bit more room.”