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Sebastian Vettel organises track run for final F1 race before retirement

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ABU DHABI -- Sebastian Vettel organised a track run on Saturday evening at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to say farewell to the paddock ahead of the final race of his career.

The four-time champion announced his retirement at the Hungarian Grand Prix this year, with Abu Dhabi marking his 299th and final grand prix start.

To mark the occasion, Vettel invited the F1 paddock to join him for one final track run -- which people working in F1 often do in the evenings of race events to stay fit -- after qualifying had finished on Saturday evening.

Runners of all abilities were welcome, with Vettel advising participants to "run at your own pace, take it easy -- it's just a nice thing to do."

He signed off his short speech, saying, "Thank you Formula One for all these years and thank you to all of you for coming together. I thought it would be a nice idea to invite everyone along."

Special t-shirts were designed and distributed by Formula One for runners to wear, while Vettel wore his own shirt with the message "Danke F1".

Well over one hundred people attended the run, with members from past teams joining in along with fellow drivers Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was also present at the start line.

F1's driver parade truck circulated the circuit during the run, with Vettel's father, Norbert, wife, Hanna, and children on board.

At the finish, Vettel cheered fellow team members across the line and posed for photos, staying on the track until every last runner had made it round.

Vettel will start ninth on the grid at Sunday evening's season finale in Abu Dhabi.