Following two successive title defeats to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg finally got one over on the Briton during a fiercely contested 2016 campaign to secure his maiden world championship. 

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Rosberg pipped Hamilton to the world title by finishing second in the final race in Abu Dhabi, before announcing his shock retirement just five days later at the FIA’s prize giving gala. 

Speaking in an interview with Men’s Health Magazine, the German admitted he doubted whether he would be able to maintain his performance levels after such a demanding season. 

“[I was] afraid that at some point I wouldn’t be good enough and that no team would want me anymore,” Rosberg said. “I wanted to decide for myself.”

Rosberg, who has since returned to the F1 paddock as a pundit for Sky Sports, said he “gave up his identity” by deciding to walk away from a sport his life revolved around. 

“In a way, I gave up my identity,” Rosberg explained. “Everything in my life was racing: my mechanics, my engineers, my team-mates, even my social environment.

“To put all that to zero in one fell swoop was a shock to my system. Then there was the addiction to recognition and success.

“I had never asked myself what other passions I had. There was always just the next race.”

Rosberg said his greatest challenge once his F1 career was over was finding meaning in life, adding: “I also invested a lot to get to know myself”.