Nico Rosberg announces retirement just days after becoming world champion

"I have climbed the mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right," the Mercedes driver said on Friday afternoon

BY Cian Roche 13:36 Friday 2 December 2016, 13:36 2 Dec 2016

Image: David Davies PA Wire/PA Images

Newly crowned world champion Nico Rosberg has shocked the Formula 1 community by announcing his retirement on Friday afternoon.

The Mercedes driver finally defeated his longtime nemesis and teammate Lewis Hamilton to clinch the world title and in a statement today expressed satisfaction at his decision to retire.

The 31-year-old German sealed the championship after a tense and controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Rosberg won the drivers' title by finishing the race in second place. His Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton won the race but lost the tile by five points.

"Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing' to become Formula One World Champion," he wrote.

"Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

"This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target.

"I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.

"When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became world champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.

"I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time … and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg [Nolte, of his management team], followed by Toto [Wolff].

"The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me. My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people, the Silver Arrows.

"Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time tosavour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me …"

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, center right, is sprayed with champagne by his team after placing second and becoming 2016 world champion at the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)


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