DID HE DESERVE THE TITLE? Readers share their opinions on Nico Rosberg's decision to retire from F1. Image: AFP / Joe Klamar
Cape Town - Nico Rosberg has quit Formula 1 mere days after winning the 2016 Drivers' title for Mercedes in a move that stunned the sport.
The 31-year-old veteran, who beat team mate Lewis Hamilton in the finale for the 2016 season, is the first reigning champion to quit since Alain Prost in 1993.
Rosberg made the bombshell revelation in Vienna ahead of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) annual awards ceremony.
Wheels24 readers respond to Rosberg's retirement:
John Dickson: He was very very lucky. It is because of Hamilton's breakdowns that he was crowned champion. I don't think he is the true champion. Even in the last race he came second.
Marius Knoesen: I'm struggling to understand what the reasons would be for Rosberg to 'just' retire. I mean, you are the world champion. Why not show Hamilton and Mercedes that you can do it again. I mean, where is the ambition and drive to win and win and win?
Surely to fight and go for a second world title would be great for one's personal achievements. I think he knows Hamilton had bad luck this year and that next year would be so much tougher. Hamilton will beat him hands down.
Skempster Davies: I just told my six-year-old son that Rosberg is retiring and he burst into tears!
Jason van Schalkwyk: Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In sport, especially, we like to think back and say that this and that should have or could have happened. We try to find a reason why our team or player is or should have been the winner, especially when the victory was marginal.
As F1 fans, we look at the 2016 season in the same way. Nico Rosberg is my opinion a worthy champion of the 2016 title. I won’t put him amongst the greats of Senna, Shumacher and the like, but simply put, in 2016 he did all he had to do to secure the title.
READ: Rosberg retires from F1: Teams & drivers respond
It seemed Rosberg changed his approach for the 2016 season, by not trying to win the championship on outright speed, as that approach failed him in the previous two seasons. I think he realised Hamilton had an edge on him there but he knew the 2016 calendar had 21 races and with that comes a lot of variables.
By making the most of opportunities such as Hamilton’s poor starts, mechanical failures - which have cost drivers championships in the past, and a bit of luck from the racing gods - he meticulously and methodically made his way to the title.
It is perhaps not the most exciting way of winning a title and he may not be the most liked guy for doing it, but none of that will be written in the history books and he will forever have his name among a very elite group of drivers. For purely achieving that objective and doing it completely within the rules, it makes him worthy of earning the 2016 title.
As for retiring: some say that he knows he can’t beat Hamilton again or that he won’t be as lucky again. Does it matter? It sure doesn’t! He achieved what he wanted to. For some that is as many championships as possible, for him it was only one. One that was won fairly and squarely within the rules of the game.
READ: F1 champ Rosberg retires - Did he deserve his title?
Abu Dhabi: again, hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the moment, the team did the right thing to ask Hamilton to speed up, but looking back, judgement failed them. It was like Shumacher and Barrichello in the US GP a few years back - it was not necessary and certainly did not go down well with the fans. Hamilton had every right to do what he could to defend his title, and he did it within the rules of the same game Rosberg played.
Fans can argue their driver or team’s case until Bernie retires, but facts will remain the same and when the 2017 season kicks off, I think and certainly hope we have a proper contest on our hands. We have (Sebastian) Vettel in a Ferrari, Hamilton in a Mercedes and feisty Mad Max (Verstappen) in a Red Bull. With the new rules, it looks set to be a hotly contested championship.
Andrew Deakin: Think he knows he can't do it again. Also, once Hamilton went public about his car breaking down it never broke down again. Mmmmm...
Rory Ashton: Good for Nico. Good decision for him and his family and thankfully now I won't have to support Mercedes any more.
Sibusiso Tembe: Rosberg made the right choice. I'm happy for him. Good luck with your new life!
OFFICIAL: F1 champ Rosberg retires from racing
Kaya Buwa: Is sad to see Rosberg calling it quits. He's a good driver. Thank you for your contribution in the sport and wish you the best in your future endeavors. Never doubt the talent that you are.
Johann fourie: Well done to the young man. He has better manners than some, and, in my opinion, that makes his racing career even more deserving.
Dave Kriel: We have been rooting for Nico for four years now. He is a true gentleman, does not easily give up, and was rewarded with the ultimate prize. He kept us rooted to the television. I take my hat off to him for putting his wife and child first now. God Bless you and your family.