Ros­berg stuns For­mula One with re­tire­ment bomb­shell

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Nico Ros­berg stunned For­mula One yes­ter­day 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. “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,” he said. “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.”

HAMIL­TON RI­VALRY

Ros­berg’s bat­tles with Hamil­ton, his boy­hood friend and ri­val in kart­ing, have lit up the last cou­ple of sea­sons - and pro­vided plenty of head­lines - and he said that too had taken its toll.

“This sea­son, I tell you, it was so damn tough,” said the man who also part­nered seven-times cham­pion Michael Schu­macher, and beat him, in his early ca­reer at Mercedes.

“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.” The Monaco-based Ger­man mar­ried his child­hood sweet­heart Vi­vian in 2014 and they had a daugh­ter last year. A de­voted fam­ily man, Ros­berg said his wife was the first per­son to know his de­ci­sion.

He ac­knowl­edged that his re­tire­ment had put his “racing fam­ily” in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion, al­though Hamil­ton will now be an even stronger favourite to win his fourth ti­tle next sea­son.

Ri­vals also will see a dream va­cancy that ev­ery driver on the start­ing grid would jump at if given the chance, Mercedes be­ing the most dom­i­nant team in the sport with 19 wins in 21 races this sea­son.

— AFP

SOCHI: This file photo taken on May 01, 2016 shows Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Ger­man driver Nico Ros­berg cel­e­brat­ing on the podium af­ter win­ning the For­mula One Rus­sian Grand Prix at the Sochi Au­to­drom cir­cuit. Nico Ros­berg an­nounced yes­ter­day shock re­tire­ment days af­ter win­ning For­mula One ti­tle.

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