Lewis Hamilton reveals he has known about Nico Rosberg’s 2016 retirement “way ahead” of when the news officially got out.
After two years of unsuccessfully fighting Lewis for the F1 title, Nico Rosberg finally managed to beat the Briton in 2016, to become a Formula 1 world champion for the first time.
To the surprise and shock of many, Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport soon thereafter.
Recently Rosberg dispelled any rumours that Mercedes actually wanted him to retire, and revealed the team tried to persuade him to stay.
“That was never, ever true,” Rosberg told Motorsport Total.
“[We] had the best driver combination… and sure it would have been easier if I had continued.”
Nico added the team’s former non-executive chairman Niki Lauda actually tried to persuade him to stay.
“Especially Niki Lauda tried that. Sure, it would have been easier if I kept driving.”
The German also revealed why he told the team about his decision to retire as soon as he made it.
“I would have very much liked to celebrate the world title for another month and then at some point say, ‘I’m quitting’.
“If it had been up to me, I would have done it in January. Another month of partying through as world champion, and then Christmas and so, and then at some point in January say: ‘I’m quitting’.
“I only did it for Toto and for the team, quite simply,” concluded Rosberg.
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At the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix Wednesday press conference Lewis Hamilton was asked if he was shocked when he heard that Nico had decided to retire, and if he felt bad about not being able to avenge his loss in 2017.
“I think I was told way ahead of [when] perhaps you would have found out,” the Briton said.
“I’ve been racing Nico since I was 13, there’s been plenty of wins, so I never ever felt that. I didn’t feel any negativity to it. He has to make his own decisions.
“To be honest, for me, it was expected, and so [I] moved on.
And speaking of Niki Lauda, the legendary Austrian passed away on this day in 2019, which was a few days ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
When asked about his favourite memories from Monaco, Lewis Hamilton said he can’t remember much, but he does rememeber the race after Niki died.
“I don’t remember much past last year. I guess the last one I do remember, 2019 was really tough, obviously with the loss of Niki.
“I think that was a really distressed weekend, and I think probably the pressure on all of us wanting to excel for Niki, to put that win to his memory was really special,” concluded the seven-time champion.