Nico Rosberg retires: World champion quits Formula 1 five days after title win

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Nico Rosberg announces Formula 1 retirement to fans

World champion Nico Rosberg has announced he has retired from Formula 1 with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old German won his first world title on Sunday, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by finishing second in the final race in Abu Dhabi.

"I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right," Rosberg said.

Rosberg won nine of this season's 21 grands prix, beating three-time champion Hamilton by five points.

"For 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing', to become Formula 1 world champion," he added.

"Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I've made it."

The son of Finnish 1982 world champion Keke, Rosberg made his F1 debut for Williams at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2006, finishing seventh.

And when asked if there was any chance of a return, Rosberg added: "No definitely not. End of story. Done."

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Rosberg's wait for a maiden title was the second longest in F1 history

Hamilton, who had beaten Rosberg to the title in the previous two seasons, said: "He has a family he wants to focus on, and F1 takes so much from you.

"It is definitely going to be strange and it will be sad to not have him in the team next year."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the news took him "completely by surprise".

"This is a brave decision by Nico and a testament to the strength of his character," he added.

"The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.

"We now have to consider options and we will start to look at it on Monday."

Rosberg raced in 206 grands prix, winning 23 and finishing on the podium 57 times.

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Nico Rosberg on his 'emotional rollercoaster' in 2016

Analysis

BBC Sport chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

Nico Rosberg's decision to announce his retirement from Formula 1 just five days after clinching his first world title is a major shock - but perhaps it should not be.

The German put everything into this season, as he explained in his statement on Friday. The pressure of those last few races was plain to see in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, in the way it peeled off him by degrees in the hours after the race.

While thinking about how hard winning that title was, doubtless his thoughts were also about what it would take to beat Lewis Hamilton to it again. He clearly felt that at the age of 31, with a young daughter, he was not prepared to make those sacrifices again.

All in all, it is a classy move from a classy man.

Read more from Andrew

Reaction

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Force India's Sergio Perez tweeted his "big admiration" for Rosberg
Juan Pablo Montoya
Former Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya described Rosberg as brave
Nico Rosberg joins Jenson Button and Felipe Massa in retirement
Nico Rosberg joins Jenson Button and Felipe Massa in retirement

The rivalry

Hamilton and Rosberg race wheel-to-wheel at Bahrain in 2014
Bahrain 2014: the beginning of a beautiful rivalry, where a thrilling battle ended with Rosberg screaming over team radio that Hamilton had cut across him
hamilton and rosberg
One-all? Hamilton is furious in the post-qualifying press conference after believing Rosberg deliberately prevented him from recording a faster lap time by going off the circuit
Nico Rosberg collides with Lewis Hamilton at the 2014 Belgian GP
Belgium 2014 - contact: "Nico's hit me," said Hamilton over team radio. Hamilton then retired with a puncture as Rosberg faced booing on the podium later - as well as a dressing down from team bosses.
Hamilton passes Rosberg at the 2015 US GP
Hamilton forced Rosberg wide after a daring overtake at the 2015 US GP, to claim his second title. Rosberg infamously threw a cap at the Brit in the drivers' room after the race
The two Mercedes drivers collided on the first lap of this year's Spanish GP
Spain: Their worst collision was in Spain this year, when they tangled on the first lap, but they also collided on the final lap in Austria
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
By the end of the 2016 season the two drivers rarely spoke or made eye contact at race weekends...

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