Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Jackie Stewart has praised Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from racing, calling the news “wonderful”.
The news has sent shockwaves through F1, with the general response being one of respect for the German’s decision.
Rosberg becomes just the fourth driver in F1 history to formally retire as champion, following in the footsteps of Mike Hawthorn, Alain Prost and Stewart.
Stewart won his third and final F1 title in 1973, but decided many months before his title success that he would call time on his career; Rosberg only made a final decision the day after his championship win.
“I was surprised when I heard the news, but I thought it was wonderful,” Stewart told Motor Sport Magazine.
“My first reaction was that it is not always possible to stop when at the top, but he has managed to do it.
“My decision was very different to Nico’s and came in very different circumstances. Motor racing is a lot less dangerous today than it was when I was making my decision.
“But I was burned out and exhausted with the travel and the racing.”
Stewart believes that the grind of the internal battles at Mercedes, particularly with teammate Lewis Hamilton, may have influenced Rosberg’s decision to call it quits.
“We don’t know what was going on this season but on the inside it could not have been enjoyable,” Stewart said.
“Now that he has won the World Championship he must have thought ‘do I need the aggro anymore?’; ‘Is it worthwhile going on?’
“He is good looking, well presented highly intelligent and a nice guy. There certainly won’t be a lack of commercial opportunities for him.”