Lewis Hamilton will miss Nico Rosberg next season but he was also one of the few people not surprised by his Mercedes team mate’s decision to retire only days after winning the Formula One championship.
“This is the first time he’s won (a title) in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop,” the triple world champion told reporters ahead of the governing FIA’s gala prize-giving in Vienna.
“He’s also got a family to focus on, and wants more children, and Formula 1 takes so much of your time. Will I miss the rivalry? Of course.”
Hamilton and Rosberg have been friends and rivals since their teenage days in karting, with the Briton beating him to the Formula One championship in 2014 and 2015.
Rosberg revealed that he informed Hamilton about his decision before he went public with the news, “I informed Lewis myself before this, it is the right way to do it. We had so many battles and so many moments.”
“I thought correct to let him know of my decision and especially in light of his post yesterday, which was kind of him,” added Rosberg.
Each has a benchmark for the other throughout their careers, the man they measure themselves against, and Hamilton recognised he would miss the German.
“We started out when we were 13 and we’d always talked about being champions,” he said. “When I joined this team, Nico was there, which was again something we talked about when we were kids.
“It’s going to be very, very strange and it will be sad not to have him in the team next year. The sport will miss him and I wish him all the best.”
“Of course it is a shame that he won’t allow me to take it (the title) back or fight to take it back but that is his choice and I respect his decision: go out on top while you can.”
Hamilton said he did not care who Mercedes chose as his team mate, providing they had equal terms, “It doesn’t matter who…I’ll race them, I’m here to race.”