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A great opportunity for a new driver in a series-dominating Mercedes Silver Arrow.....
2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg decides to retire
From The Marbles
Dec 2, 2016, 9:29 AM
Nico Rosberg is ending his Formula 1 career with a title.
Rosberg announced Friday that he was going to retire. He won his first world championship on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, clinching the title by finishing second behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton.
“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,” Rosberg said in a statement he posted to social media. “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… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were [wife] Vivian and George Nolte, followed by [Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff].”
Mercedes teammates Rosberg and Hamilton had everyone else covered throughout the 2016 season. Hamilton had a series-leading 10 wins and 17 podiums while Rosberg had nine wins and 16 podiums. Only Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen scored wins in addition to the Mercedes guys and Ricciardo was the only non-Mercedes driver who won a pole position. Hamilton had 12 and Rosberg had eight.
Rosberg won the title over Hamilton by five points — and got that gap by having two fourth-place finishes and a fifth. Outside of his 17 top-threes, Hamilton had a fifth, a seventh, an 18th and a 22nd. While NASCAR awards points to every driver on the grid, Formula 1 awards points to only the top 10. The winner gets 25 points while 10th place gets one.
Hamilton drew criticism with the way he drove at Abu Dhabi late in the race. He needed Rosberg to finish fourth so he purposely dropped his pace in the late laps hoping Rosberg would get caught and passed by Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen. The tactic, while brilliant and also against Mercedes’ wishes, didn’t work.
It was a fitting end to what was sometimes a contentious season between the two. Their 21st and 22nd-place finishes came at Catalunya where they crashed each other out on the first lap of the race.
2016 was Rosberg’s 11th season in Formula 1. He joined Mercedes in 2010 and won his first of 23 races in 2012 at China.
With most rides already filled for 2017, Rosberg’s retirement opens up a spot at Formula 1’s best team — a spot that will have no shortage of suitors. Mercedes has won the last three constructor titles while Hamilton won titles in 2015 and 2014.
“With Mercedes, Nico has been a relentless competitor, bouncing back from tough times in an inspirational way, and he earned the respect of the sport with his tenacity, his fighting spirit and his grace under pressure. Since 2010, he has poured competitive energy into our team and we have grown stronger because of it. We simply say ‘thank you’ for the incredible contribution he has made to our success alongside two of the all-time great drivers, Michael [Schumacher] and Lewis.
“For the team, this is an unexpected situation but also an exciting one. We are going into a new era of technical regulations and there is a free Mercedes cockpit for the seasons ahead. We will take the necessary time to evaluate our options and then find the right path for our future.”
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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter!