Just days after hitting the pinnacle of his career, Nico Rosberg has announced he is quitting Formula one. The German, who beat Britain Lewis Hamilton to become world champion last Sunday says he is retiring immediately.
It is one of the biggst shocks in the history of the sport. While the full details of his current contract and any clauses are not known, he does still have three years to go on a deal worth £18.3 million a year.
As he proved on Sunday, he is also still clearly in the prime of his racing career. His departure will now leave Mr Hamilton as the dominant driver in the Mercedes team. As of yet, there is no suggestion for who could be his replacement.
In a statement, Mr Rosberg said that he had now relalised his dream and thought it was right to go while at the top of his game. 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.”
Mr Rosberg said that the season had been “damn tough” but that he was now ready to put his family first, having achieved his aim. Thanking his wife Vivian, he added that she had been there to give him space to work hard, while she looked after their daughter.
The Formula One champ did not mention Mr Hamilton in his statement, but said he had told him about his decision before going public with his retirement. Mr Hamilton has said he will not be retiring just yet, but has said: “Who knows, maybe, my end is coming soon.”