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Nico Rosberg retires from F1 within a week of becoming world champion

You may have guessed Donald Trump would win and Brexit could happen, but we doubt anybody thought Nico Rosberg would quit within a week of becoming the world champion.

Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula One at the 2016 FIA prizegiving in Vienna. He had been crowned world champion at the final Abu Dhabi grand prix race on Sunday, where he needed to finish below third to beat second-place Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg has since explained in detail why he decided to retire with immediate effect. Speaking on Facebook, he said: “Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One world champion. 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.”

The end of the F1 season had been somewhat tainted by the fact Hamilton, who was in with a very real chance of winning his fourth world champion title, went against team orders to try and make Rosberg finish below the third he needed by delibately holding him up.

Critics said Hamilton was being a bad sport, but some fans have argued he was doing what any race driver would do, trying to win, and that he did so in a respectable way.

On the flip side, the finale helped prove Rosberg’s resolve – whose father Keke Rosberg was also a world champion 34 years earlier, helping them become the second father and son to do so after Graham and Damon Hill – as he survived the pressure of being followed by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen for the 55-lap, 190-mile race.

The rest of Rosberg’s Facebook statement reads: “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, from Nico’s management team), followed by Toto.

“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 to savour 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.”

Never has a mic drop GIF been more appropriate…


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