2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton is part of the reason why Max Verstappen has discussed retiring from F1, following their titanic 2021 battle.
Verstappen and Hamilton fought relentlessly throughout the 2021 campaign, with the title having been decided on the final lap of the season.
Rosberg knows exactly how it feels to battle Hamilton for an entire year, and how “fierce” it can be.
The German retired immediately after claiming his championship in 2016, with Valtteri Bottas having been signed as his Mercedes replacement.
With Verstappen’s comments about retiring from F1 having started whilst he was fighting Hamilton, Rosberg believes his ex-Mercedes team-mate is partly to blame for the Dutchman wanting to potentially retire earlier than expected.
The reigning World Champion will first be able to retire in 2028, when his current Red Bull contract expires.
“That talk from him [possibly retiring] started in the year when he battled Hamilton,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.
“Where he said ‘I won’t go on for very long if every year is like that’. Those battles are so fierce and intense, it takes a lot of the fun away as well.”
Despite Rosberg’s beliefs on why Verstappen has discussed retiring in 2028, the Dutchman has openly admitted that it’s the constantly changing format and increasing calendar which is driving him away.
Verstappen has openly spoken against the sprint race format and the calendar increasing to potentially 25 races, with him admitting that if further changes are made, then he “won’t be around for too long”.
“I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long…” Verstappen said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, as reported by the Express.co.uk.
“We are heading into seasons where we could have 24 or 25 races and if you then start adding more it is not worth it for me. I will not enjoy that.”
The most recent sprint race in Azerbaijan further added to Verstappen’s reasons why he’s so against them, following a collision with George Russell.
Russell hit the Red Bull driver on the opening lap of the Baku sprint race, ripping a hole in Verstappen’s left sidepod.