Lewis Hamilton admits that Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from Formula 1 just five days after clinching the World Drivers’ Championship did not completely shock the British driver, but he will miss the on-track rivalry with his now former Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate.
Rosberg shocked many on Friday by announcing his immediate retirement from the sport, citing that he had achieved everything he wanted to when he took the title with a runners-up finish to Hamilton during Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Hamilton was amongst a minority who were not stunned by the news.
“The sport will miss him but I wish him all the best. I am sure it is a surprise to many people,” said Hamilton at the FIA Prize Giving in Vienna. “I am probably the only person who thought it was not a surprise because I’ve known him a long time, but this is motor racing.
“This is the first time he has won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop. He’s got a family to focus on, and wants more children, and F1 takes so much time.
“Will I miss the rivalry? Of course. We had always talked about being champions and when I joined this team and Nico was there, which is also something we talked about when we were kids.
“It is definitely something very strange and it’ll be sad to not have him in the team next year.”
Hamilton admitted he would have preferred to have fought Rosberg on track again in 2017 to reclaim the title he won in both 2014 and 2015, but was happy for the German to walk away from the sport having reached the pinnacle this season.
“I wouldn’t say I was annoyed,” said Hamilton. “Of course it is a shame that he won’t allow me to take it back or fight to take it back, but that is his choice and I respect his decision – go out on top while you can,” he said.
“I have a different viewpoint, I won the championship the past two years and gave us an opportunity to have another shot, that is how I am.
“I consistently believe in my ability and do what I can. If I win again, I want another opportunity. I love racing and being challenged by different competitors.”