Lewis Hamilton says he was not surprised by Mercedes teammate and Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement announcement on Friday.
Hamilton lost out to Rosberg in the battle for the 2016 drivers’ championship, finishing five points shy of a fourth title in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Rosberg announced on Friday ahead of the FIA prize giving in Vienna that he would be retiring from F1 with immediate effect, sending shockwaves through the sport.
However, Hamilton said that the news came as little surprise to him, given he has worked with Rosberg throughout his career and knows the German well.
“The sport will miss him but I wish him all the best,” Hamilton said at the press conference in Vienna, as quoted by F1i.
“I’m sure it was a surprise to many people. I’m probably one of the many people that it was not a surprise for but that’s because I’ve known him for a long, long time. But this is motor racing.
“This is the first time he’s won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop. But also he’s got a family to focus on and probably wants to have more children. Formula 1 takes so much of your time.”
Rosberg’s decision brings an end to his fierce rivalry with Hamilton during their four years together as Mercedes teammates.
The two enjoyed a number of clashes both on- and off-track, but Hamilton said that he would miss not having Rosberg to go up against.
“We started karting when we were 13 and we would always talk about being champions,” Hamilton said.
“When I joined this team Nico was there which was something we spoke about when we were kids.
“It’s going to be very, very strange and for sure it will be sad to not have him in the team next year.”