Rosberg stuns Formula One with retirement bombshell

Fri Dec 2, 2016 10:40am EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg stunned Formula One on Friday with the shock announcement that he was retiring only days after achieving a lifetime ambition by winning his first world championship with Mercedes.

"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," the German said in a statement.

"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," the 31-year-old added.

The driver, who had given no previous indication of his intentions, said he had made the decision the day after the title race.

Rosberg, who was due to attend the governing FIA's gala prize-giving in Vienna later on Friday along with team mate and triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, did not say what he planned to do next.

He will leave with a record of 23 wins in 206 races - putting him equal 12th on the all-time lists with Brazilian triple champion Nelson Piquet - and as only the second son of a champion to take the title.

His Finnish father Keke was champion with Williams in 1982.

Nico Rosberg was also the first German driver to win the Formula One title with a German car and team, and now becomes the first champion to walk away without defending the title since Frenchman Alain Prost in 1993.   Continued...

 
Mercedes' Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg of Germany speaks during a news conference as he announces his retirement in Vienna, Austria December 2, 2016.   REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger