Vettel was given a guard of honour by his Ferrari mechanics as he left his pit garage ahead of the race, which ended in disappointment for the Scuderia as both Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc slipped back from their starting positions.
Ferrari announced back in May that Vettel would leave the team at the end of the 2020 season and he later signed a deal to replace Sergio Perez at the Racing Point squad that will become Aston Martin for next season.
“It was an emotional day,” Vettel told Motorsport.com after the race at the Yas Marina track.
“I mean the result is nothing to mention, the race is nothing to mention, but yeah, I really enjoyed the little gestures starting from the beginning of the weekend.
[From] The mechanics, the engineers – all these people that I worked with for so long in those years, and so hard. So yeah, I shall miss a few of them very much.
“But it’s good to be around [in F1 next season] and I’ll get to see them.”
Vettel also said that he was “happy obviously that the season is over” because “it was quite tough and tiring. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
The German used the cool-down lap to sing his version of popular Italian song ‘Azzurro’ for Ferrari.
Vettel and Leclerc ran together in the early stages of the race after the latter’s grid penalty meant they lined up alongside each other in P12 and P13 on the grid.
They were boosted up the order as Ferrari opted not to stop during the virtual safety car period triggered by Sergio Perez’s retirement – which was later upgraded to a fully safety car – but the duo were overcome by the cars that had been running ahead of them and did chose to come as the race wore.
“At some stage obviously I struggled and the safety car didn’t really help us because obviously we were on a mirror strategy to most of the cars,” Vettel said of his race on Sunday.
“So, yeah, it didn’t really work in our favour. But yeah, we still tried to hang in there as much as possible.”