Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has decided to quit Formula One with immediate effect, five days after he was crowned the 2016 world champion.
The 31-year-old made the emotional announcement just before the the FIA Prize Giving in Vienna, Austria citing that he had achieved his goal in the sport and pointing out that he didn't want to endure his family through the rigours of the season.
"I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right," the German declared.
Rosberg was involved in an intense battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton in the season-ending title decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, where he soaked up the pressure to finish second and seal the championship.
"This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough," he said. "And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target."
Rosberg only had to finish three of the last four races in second place and one in third to ensure he was champion, even if Hamilton won the final four Grands Prix. Hamilton did sweep the last four races while Rosberg finished second in each with the German pointing out that he had decided to call it quits following his victory in Japan, that left him with an attainable goal for the final four races.
"When I won the race in Suzuka... I began to think about ending my racing career if I became world champion," he said. "On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race.
"I took my decision on Monday evening," he added after saying that he reflected on it for a day.
Rosberg started in 206 races, stepped on the podium on 57 occasions and won 23 Grands Prix.