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F1 stars share private joy, sorrow

2019-11-29 12:59
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Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (R) speaks to Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel after the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo in the outskirts of Barcelona on May 11. LLUIS GENE / AFP

Two of Formula 1's biggest stars, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, made contrasting announcements Thursday after one became a father for the third time and the other said his marriage was over.

Mercedes' Bottas confirmed his three-year marriage to fellow-Finn Emilia Pikkarainen had ended while Ferrari's four-time champion Vettel requested a leave of absence from a news conference ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the arrival of his third child.

On a downbeat weekend for Bottas, it was also confirmed that he will start Sunday's season-ending race from the back of the grid after taking penalties for the installation of a new power unit.

In a statement, Bottas said his nine-year relationship with Pikkarainen was over.

"Unfortunately, I have to let you know that the marriage between Emilia and myself has come to an end," he said.

"Our ways have split because of the challenges my career and the situation bring and we think this is the best for both of us and our future lives, so we are separating as friends."

Vettel was due to sit alongside Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in Thursday's scheduled news conference when the pair were expected to be quizzed about the fallout from their collision in Brazil two weeks ago.

Instead Vettel will arrive at the Yas Marina circuit on Friday following the birth of his son. He and wife Hanna already have two girls.

The four-time champion and his wife Hanna already have two girls and the family has now been joined by their first son.

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