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Inside Line: Bravo! Respect Nico!

Nico Rosberg Celebrates 2016 World Drivers' Championship Title at Brackley

A mere five days of attaining his childhood dream of becoming a Formula 1 World Champion, Nico Rosberg announced he was quitting the sport.

It was a mega decision that exploded on the world, a story that transcended the sport and even impacted on a dear pensioner housewife who told me, over lunch with the family that she, admired Nico’s decision.

I too, albeit shocked when the news broke, soon admired the decision. It is the stuff that will one day become legend. If you scripted the scenario for a movie it would be deemed silly, unbelievable.

But it is not fantasy, it is true and I for one am filled with respect and admiration for Nico as he accomplished his mission in style, walking away for the best reason on the world… his family.

I am dismayed (but not surprised in this age of angry disrespect) that so many self styled F1 fans criticised the decision, some imbeciles even calling him a coward. This of course is ludicrous and speaks volumes for the ugly world we live in today.

Thankfully Nico’s contemporaries and former drivers were unanimous in their messages and responses to the immense news: RESPECT they all declared.

They, better than all, know what it took for the newly crowned F1 to give up a seat in the sport’s most successful car, with an astounding winning pedigree, that is likely to continue being a front runner for years to come.

However it was mission accomplished for Nico. Only he knows what it took out of him mentally, emotionally and physically to beat Lewis – without doubt one of the best, if not the very best, driver of this era.

Nico knows Lewis is a great, and when we stand back to look at the bigger picture of the feud between the two it becomes apparent that this is Formula 1’s version of Rocky.

The under dog triumphing against all odds with Vivian inadvertently doing the Adrian thing on the radio during the cool down lap at Yas. It was a family effort, fittingly Nico trumpeted: “We did it!.”

Nico is not delusional as many race drivers tend to be, he knows and has always known that Lewis has had the edge in their rivalry which dates back to karting.

To beat him Nico had to dig deeper than ever, go that extra mile or two on just about every related front and to come out tops in the psychological games that prevail at that level – he ticked all three boxes to be a more than worthy and deserving champion.

Now he rides off into the sunset, the fighter quitting at the very top of his game, with the biggest prize on his mantelpiece sure to prompt a smile every time he walks past it. He did what very few have managed on his way to becoming the 33rd F1 World Champion.

His departure has been gracious, the real Nico emerging in the aftermath of a very long season season. A genuinely nice guy with a great sense of humour and humility. The hard facade required to be a F1 driver in the modern era is now gone. The relief and sense of achievement palpable.

Although only time will tell, I believe he is gone for good with no regrets and no desire to return.

For me the most touching moment of the entire year, came a couple of days after Abu Dhabi, when Nico was looking for his father’s name etched onto the Formula 1 champions’ trophy, finding it and tapping it with a finger, smiling with pride, knowing his name would be on it too. Mission accomplished for family Rosberg.

Bravo! Respect Nico!

Inside Line Opinion by Paul Velasco