Vettel considered retirement before accepting Aston Martin's offer

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said he had come close to retiring before Racing Point offered him a chance to continue in Formula One next season.

Asked yesterday ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix at Italy's Mugello circuit how close he was to walking away, the 33-year-old German replied: "Close".

"Is there a measure of how close you can get? It was close in terms of having a lot of thoughts and deciding what's ultimately... I have to put myself first in that regard, what's best for me," Vettel said.

"What I've decided now I believe is the best for me, and I'm looking forward to proving that."

Vettel was told by Ferrari in May that they would not be extending his contract beyond this year. In July, he recognised he could leave Formula One for good.

Racing Point, to be renamed Aston Martin F1 next season, were his best option. They are currently fourth with a car based on last year's title-winning Mercedes, while Ferrari are sixth.

Vettel would not reveal details of his contract or the duration, although Racing Point have said it is for 2021 and beyond.

Vettel has struggled at Ferrari since young Monegasque Charles Leclerc arrived, making basic errors and looking uncomfortable in the car. He will be replaced by McLaren's Carlos Sainz.

Sergio Perez, the driver that Vettel will be replacing, said he did not expect the changes as he has a contract for 2021. - REUTERS