Lewis Hamilton not surprised by Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement


VIENNA, Austria — Unlike the rest of the motorsport community, Lewis Hamilton says he was not surprised by his teammate Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from Formula One after winning the title this year.

In a shock announcement at the FIA prize giving ceremony on Friday, Rosberg made the news public in a press conference ahead of the main event. After losing out in title battles to Hamilton in 2014 and 2015, Rosberg said part of the reason behind his decision was the feeling he had after finally securing the title in 2016.

But Hamilton, who spoke in Vienna after Rosberg’s announcement, said he had seen it coming.

“The sport will miss him and I’m sure it was a surprise for many people,” he said. “I’m probably one of the only people it was not a surprise to, but that’s because I have known him for a long, long time. But this is motor racing.”

Hamilton and Rosberg started karting together in their early teens and have followed similar career trajectories before being matched as teammates in F1 at Mercedes in 2013.

Asked if he would miss the rivalry, Hamilton added: “Well, this is the first time he has won in 18 years, hence why it’s not a surprise that he decided to stop. But also he’s got a family to focus on and probably wants to have more children and Formula One takes up so much of your time.

“In terms of missing the rivalry, of course [I will]. We started out when we were 13 and we would always talk about being champions and when I joined this team Nico was there — again which was something we talked about when we were kids. It’s definitely going to be very strange and for sure I will be sad not to have him in the team next year.”

Hamilton had talked about his desire to beat Rosberg in a straight fight next year, but the announcement means he will now be paired with a new teammate.

“Of course it is a shame that he won’t allow me to fight it to take it back, but that was his choice and I respect his decision — go out on top while you can. I have a different viewpoint. I won the championship the last two years and I gave an opportunity each year to have another shot for someone.

“That is genuinely how I am and I consistently believe in my ability and what I can do each year. Even if I was to win again most likely I’d like to get another opportunity. I like being challenged by different competitors, but again we have been racing for 18 years so it’s not the worst scenario.”


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