Nico Rosberg jokes he could help Lewis Hamilton with his German now he's retired

Nico Rosberg jokes he could help Lewis Hamilton with his German now he's retired

Nico Rosberg joked he could help Lewis Hamilton learn to speak German now he has retired, while Hamilton said he hoped to remain a Formula One driver for the next decade as the duo addressed Mercedes fans at the constructor's end of season event in Stuttgart.

Newly-crowned F1 champion Rosberg, who clinched his maiden world title only six days ago in Abu Dhabi, stunned the sporting world on Friday by revealing his retirement from the sport with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old German initially informed only a handful of people - including his great rival Hamilton - before telling the world of his stunning decision ahead of the FIA's annual prize-giving ceremony in Vienna.

On Saturday, three-time world champion Hamilton apologised for his lack of German vocabulary to the onlooking crowd and asked: "I'm going to try a little bit of German....how do I say 'I'm so happy to be here?'."

Once his request was translated, he added: "I have been with the Mercedes family since the age of 13 and I hope by the time it comes to my retirement that I can speak German to you."

Rosberg, who had moments earlier started a rendition of Queen's 'We are the Champions' to the delight of his cheering audience, told the Brit: "If you're looking for a German teacher, call me up as I'm looking for a job!"

Former McLaren driver Hamilton was quick to reply to his former team-mate's request, saying: "Nico's the worst German teacher, he tells me all the wrong words."

While on the subject of retirement, 31-year-old Hamilton was then asked how long he expected to continue driving an F1 car and added: "I plan to be here for another 10 years at least."

That will be music to the ears of Mercedes, who begin their search for Hamilton's new team-mate on Monday after Rosberg's sensational announcement to quit.

Rosberg's jaw-dropping move leaves Mercedes, the sport's all-conquering team who have won 51 of the last 59 races, with a vacancy for 2017.

At this stage, it is unclear who Mercedes will choose to partner Hamilton, although they insist they are in no rush to reach a decision.

Sebastian Vettel, the four-time champion of Ferrari, and McLaren's double world champion Fernando Alonso have been mooted as mouth-watering candidates, but both drivers are under contract with their respective teams next season.

Pascal Wehrlein, a protege of the Mercedes junior driver programme, and Valtteri Bottas of Williams are also in the frame.

"Now we have to consider all options, but it will be very hard to replace him," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. "We will start to look at this on Monday.

"This is a brave decision by Nico and testament to the strength of his character. He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me."

Rosberg, who becomes the first reigning Formula One champion to retire from the sport since Alain Prost in 1993, has revealed he is now looking forward to the next chapter of his life with wife Vivian, and their one-year-old daughter Alaia.

Rosberg emulated his father Keke, the 1982 world champion, after he crossed the line in second place following a tense season finale last Sunday.


''Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing' to become Formula One World Champion,'' Rosberg, who started his career with Williams in 2006, said in a statement on Facebook.

''Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I've made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.''

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