Nico Rosberg admits he thought Mercedes were going to sack him

Nico Rosberg stepped away from Formula 1 shortly after winning his first Drivers’ Championship, having reached the pinnacle of his career.

Six years after Nico Rosberg surprised the Formula 1 world by announcing his retirement at the age of 31, the German-Finn has opened up about the decisions that led him to walk away from the sport.

Rosberg announced he was retiring despite having just won the 2016 world championship and only recently signing a contract extension with Mercedes. 

In taking the 2016 title, Rosberg became one of only a few drivers to outperform Lewis Hamilton in equal machinery.

The season was particularly tough on the relationship between Rosberg and Hamilton, which is still thought to be fractured to this day.

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Rosberg secured the title by just one point at the end of the season, aided by Hamilton suffering two retirements during the year, at the races in Spain and Malaysia.

“I was afraid that if I had continued, I would not be fast enough,” Rosberg explained.

“And then at some point there would be no team left that would want me.

“So I’d rather stop too early than too late. 

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“I wanted to be able to decide for myself.”

Rosberg wouldn’t stay away from the sport completely though, returning as a pundit on Sky Sports, as well as getting involved in sustainability projects.

 “Everything in my life was racing: my mechanics, my engineers, my team-mates, even my social environment.

“To put all that to zero in one fell swoop was a shock to my system. Then there was the addiction to recognition and success.

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“I had never asked myself what other passions I had. There was always just the next race.

“As a world champion and driver I was at the top, but with these new projects you start at the bottom.

“That is interesting and instructive.”