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World Champion Nico Rosberg stuns F1 with retirement announcement

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Sealed with a kiss: Nico Rosberg is congratulated by his wife Vivian Sibold and mother Sina Rosberg

Sealed with a kiss: Nico Rosberg is congratulated by his wife Vivian Sibold and mother Sina Rosberg

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Desert shake: It’s a dead heat in the Abu Dhabi mutual contempt decider

Desert shake: It’s a dead heat in the Abu Dhabi mutual contempt decider

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Showdown: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the final F1 press conference of the season

Showdown: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the final F1 press conference of the season

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in the garage during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in the garage during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix

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Sealed with a kiss: Nico Rosberg is congratulated by his wife Vivian Sibold and mother Sina Rosberg

New world champion Nico Rosberg has announced his retirement from Formula One, a Mercedes spokesman has said.

Rosberg, who claimed his maiden title at the season-deciding race in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, made the shock revelation at a press conference in Vienna.

"I have decided to end my Formula One career here," Rosberg, 31, said.

An emotional  Rosberg had earlier admitted that beating his long-term rival Lewis Hamilton to the World Championship made his  Formula One title triumph all the more satisfying.

He survived a nail-biting conclusion to the sport's longest-ever season in Abu Dhabi as Hamilton's desperate ploy to back him into the clutches of the chasing pack failed.

The German, who needed to finish in the top three, survived a late onslaught from Sebastian Vettel, with Max Verstappen also breathing down his neck, to clinch the title. His second place, behind race winner Hamilton, meant Rosberg was champion.

Rosberg, who has been racing Hamilton in a rivalry which dates back to their early teenage years, had never previously beaten the British driver over the course of one season.

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But after finishing five points clear of his Mercedes team-mate, despite winning one fewer race, Rosberg has finally put an end to his long-running losing streak.

"I've been racing him forever and he's always just managed to edge me out and get the title - even when we were small in go karts," said Rosberg, who had been beaten to the title by Hamilton in the past two seasons.

"He's an amazing driver and one of the best in history, so it's unbelievably special to beat him because the level is high and that makes this even more satisfying.

"He is the benchmark and I took the World Championship away from him which is a phenomenal feeling."

 


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