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Nico Rosberg retires from Formula 1

AAP logoAAP 2/12/2016 Paul Johnson

Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg has announced his retirement just five days after he claimed the Drivers' Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The 31-year-old German made the announcement that he is calling it quits after 11 seasons via his Facebook page and then at a press conference in Vienna.

Rosberg took out his maiden title by finishing second behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, equalling the record of his father Keke, who won the F1 world title in 1982 for Williams.

"I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right," Rosberg wrote.

Rosberg said his decision came down to achieving his dream and indicated the battles he has endured with Hamilton over the last three years took their toll.

"For 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing' to become Formula 1 world champion," Rosberg said.

"It's been an incredible experience for me that I will remember forever.

"At the same time it has been very, very tough.

"The last two years losing to Lewis were very difficult moments for me and fuelled my motivation in a way I didn't know was possible, for me to fight back and to achieve my dream.

"I put everything into it and pushed like crazy in all directions along with everybody who was involved and there were a lot of sacrifices.

"I don't want to do it again - I have decided to follow my heart call it a day and it feels right to me so I am very, very excited to go home and be a dad again."

Rosberg went on to describe how he felt he could end his career after winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in October.

"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."

He ends the career which started at Williams (2006-2009) and then Mercedes (since 2010) with 23 race victories and 30 pole positions. He won the 2016 title with nine race wins.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was on hand for the announcement and gave Rosberg his full support.

"This is a brave decision by Nico and testament to the strength of his character," Wolff said.

"He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me."

The departure of Rosberg leaves a vacant seat at Mercedes and given the success of the team, who have won the last three constructors' and drivers' championships it is a seat most of the field would likely be keen to gain.

Wolff though said Mercedes had not yet settled on an option.

"Now we have to consider all options and it will be very hard but we will start to look at this on Monday."

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