After winning his first Drivers World Championship in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Nico Rosberg has stunned the world of Formula One by announcing he is retiring from the sport.

Rosberg finished second in Abu Dhabi, behind Lewis Hamilton, meaning he edged out his teammate to follow in the footsteps of his father Keke and become world champion.

He finished five points ahead of Hamilton, who had beaten Rosberg to the title over the last two years. Rosberg won nine races this year to Hamilton’s ten, but placed more consistently than the British driver to clinch the crown.

The 31-year-old German has been racing for 25 years, making his Formula One debut in 2006, and raced with Hamilton during their karting days growing up.

In total, Rosberg raced in 206 Grand Prixs, claiming 30 pole positions and 23 race victories. He leaves the sport on top, having reached the peak of the sport.

‘I have climbed my mountain’

Rosberg took to Facebook to explain his decision, saying that he was on the peak having become world champion and that this season had been extremely hard on him.

With a young family, Rosberg appears to have taken the decision that it simply isn’t worth sacrificing himself to go through the struggles of trying to win another title. It’s a decision that has come as a surprise, but one that has commanded great respect from the Formula One world.

Rosberg’s team boss Toto Wolff admitted he was totally surprised when Rosberg informed him of the decision on Monday.

Where will Mercedes turn next?

Rosberg acknowledged in his post that his decision has left Mercedes with a headache. With almost every driver tied down to a contract for 2017, questions are now being asked as to who will be Hamilton’s teammate next season.

Wolff says that they will begin discussions on that on Monday, but the team who have won three successive Constructor’s and Driver’s Championships are facing something of a conundrum.

The top names, such as Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are all tied down until at least the end of next season, leaving the likes of young Pascal Wehrlein as potential contenders.

With changes to the sport expected to end or at least reduce Mercedes’ dominance, this announcement makes life that little bit more difficult for Wolff and the team.