Johannesburg [South Africa], Dec.3 : Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has insisted he is sad, but not surprised by newly-crowned world champion and his team-mate Nico Rosberg's sudden announcement to retire from Formula One.
Barely a week after winning his maiden Formula One World Championship, the German on Friday shocked the motor sport world by announcing his retirement with immediate effect.
Rosberg took to his Facebook account to announce his retirement, stating that winning the championship had been his only dream and that he always wanted to end his career on a high note.
While Rosberg's announcement came as a shock to F1 fans, his friend and fierce rival Hamilton was unfazed by the news.
"I'm probably one of the only people that it was not a surprise to, but that's because I've known him for a long time," Sport24 quoted Hamilton as saying.
Reflecting on the reason as to why he was not surprised by Rosberg's retirement, the three-time world champion insisted that the former has won the F1 title for the first time in 18 years and, therefore, it was a right time to quit.
"This is the first time he's won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.
But he's also got a family to focus on, having children, and Formula 1 takes so much of your time," Hamilton said.
"We started out when we were 13 and we'd always talked about being champions,' he added. The Briton, however, admitted it would be sad not to see him in the team next year. "It's going to be very, very strange, and it will be sad not to have him in the team next year. The sport will miss him, and I wish him all the best," insisted the Mercedes driver. Rosberg started his career with Williams F1 team, for whom he raced from 2006 till 2009. He later joined Mercedes in 2010 alongside seven time World champion Michael Schumacher where he raced with till the end of his career.
Rosberg's career is well noted for his intense rivalry with fellow Mercedes driver Hamilton. Both have raced each other for 17 years starting from the junior formulas, with Hamilton always being the upper hand in the race till the 2016.
Last week, Rosberg finished second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which was enough to hand him his first world Formula 1 title.