Lewis Hamilton is confident Sebastian Vettel will return to F1 in the near future given the host of former drivers who have found their way back onto the grid.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will see four-time champion Vettel complete his final race weekend as he calls time on a career spanning 15 full seasons.
But after Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg all returned from spells out of the sport to secure full-time seats, Hamilton reflected that although this is farewell, he is confident it is not goodbye.
"We have always had such great battles, honestly, and I was just sitting here thinking that most drivers are coming back," said the seven-time champion.
"He’s [Alonso] come back, you’re probably going to come back.
“We’re seeing other drivers coming back so I’m sitting here accepting that it’s your last race but you’ll be back.
"Formula 1 has a way of sucking you back in and we’ve noticed that from so many other drivers.”
Jokingly, Vettel responded: “Maybe we can make a deal that when you want to get away, I’ll come back.”
Vettel apologises for Baku clash
Vettel was Hamilton's primary competition for the F1 title in both 2017 and '18 when driving for Ferrari.
After the Mercedes driver described Vettel as a "bit of a nuisance" during their days battling at the front, the German conceded to a moment that he is less than proud of.
The 35-year-old, however, feels the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when Vettel deliberately crashed into Hamilton, was a turning point in their relationship.
“Baku, for me, wasn’t a great moment because what I did wasn’t right," reflected Vettel. "But actually, I think from that moment onwards [our friendship got] a lot better.
"So I don’t want that to not happen, if you see what I mean.”