Nico Rosberg has revealed he turned down $100 million to continue in F1 in order to "avoid going out as a has-been".
The German defeated team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take the 2016 world championship before announcing his shock retirement from the sport.
The victory put an end to a streak of losses in a rivalry that had started when the pair were friends in karting but as Rosberg explained to Times Magazine, he wanted to ensure he left the sport on a high.
"It went to the wire, to the last corner," he said, describing his title win.
"It couldn’t have been more intense and winning against Lewis, in the same car, after having struggled against him for decades, it was just so perfect.
“I wanted to avoid going out as a has-been or someone who is not wanted anymore. I mean, there was $100 million on the table that I gave up on,”
“I longed for a different kind of life. You don’t have flexibility when you’re racing. It was the right decision for my family. I didn’t think about the money for one second.”
The battle between Hamilton and Max Verstappen this season and the partisan followings each driver has evokes memories of the 2016 battle between the Mercedes team-mates.
"There were the two camps: the Nico camp and the Hamilton fans and all the Hamilton fans were against me, of course," explained Rosberg.
“There were these four-year-old girls right in front of me with their dads, and they were booing me and giving me the thumbs down. Their dads had told them I was bad and that they needed to boo me.”
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