Days after clinching his first Formula 1 World Championship in Abu Dhabi, Nico Rosberg has announced his retirement from the sport after 11 seasons.
Rosberg, 31, announced the news at the FIA Press Conference in Vienna.
Last Sunday, the German emulated Damon Hill in having won the world title 34 years after his father. The news comes as a shock to the Formula 1 paddock, meaning that 2017 will be the first year in 23 years that the reigning World Champion will not be active.
Rosberg's departure from Mercedes means that junior driver Pascal Wehrlein looks set to partner championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking in Vienna alongised Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff, Rosberg told his fans in a Facebook post: "I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right."
"This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough," Rosberg added. "I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before."
2016 saw Rosberg start off the year with four successive wins, an extension of his red-hot late 2015 form. Despite Hamilton clawing his way back into the fight, and even assuming the lead at the summer break, Rosberg fought back to hold Hamilton off by a mere five points - despite the Briton winning the final four races of the season.
Rosberg revealed that the decision had been made after his dominant win at the Japanese Grand Prix, in October.
"When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion," before adding. "On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I took my decision on Monday evening."
His Mercedes contract was due to expire at the end of 2018, but after 11 seasons, two teams, 206 starts, 23 wins and a finally the sole World Championship he craved, Rosberg goes out on a high.