Nico Rosberg: “All the Hamilton fans were against me, of course”

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2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg talks about walking away from a $100m Mercedes deal, and his experience with Lewis Hamilton fans booing him.

After losing out to Lewis Hamilton in 2014 and 2015, Nico Rosberg finally managed to beat the Briton in 2016, to take his first Formula 1 title.

However, right after winning the title, Rosberg surprisingly called it a career and retired from the sport. Now he reveals he also walked away from a $100m Mercedes deal.

“I wanted to avoid going out as a has-been or someone who is not wanted anymore,” the German told Times Magazine.

“I mean, there was $100m on the table that I gave up on. I longed for a different kind of life. You don’t have flexibility when you’re racing.

“It was the best decision for my family – I didn’t think about the money for one second.”

The relationship between Lewis and Nico famously deteriorated from a close friendship in junior categories, to an all-out war while they were team-mates at Mercedes.

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Rosberg says this is normal when such high stakes are in play.

“That’s why they break up eventually, because there is so much at stake,” Nico explained.

“And they start fighting more and more and they eventually break up because there’s so much money at stake, so much recognition at stake.”

Lewis and Nico’s famous rivalry also extended to their fans. With Lewis getting booed at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Rosberg reveals he also experienced booing during his title fight with the Briton.

“There were the two camps, the Nico camp and the Hamilton fans. And all the Hamilton fans were against me, of course.

“[Once], there were these four-year-old girls right in front of me with their dads, and they were booing me and giving me the thumbs down.

“Their dads told them I was bad and that they needed to boo me,” concluded the 2016 champion.

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