Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton would always want to defend F1 title

Lewis Hamilton says he would always want to defend a Formula 1 world title, rather than retire from racing as champion like Nico Rosberg has

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton would always want to defend F1 title

Rosberg made the shock announcement at the FIA prize giving on Friday, saying he was not prepared to commit to another F1 championship battle.

Hamilton says he was not surprised by Rosberg's decision to retire, adding he "wouldn't say I was annoyed" that he will not have the chance to win the title back from the German.

Who should replace Rosberg?

"It's a shame that he's not around to fight to take it back," three-time champion Hamilton said.

"That's his choice and I respect his decision. Go out on top while you can.

"I have a different viewpoint. I won the championship the past two years and I gave an opportunity each year to have another shot at it for someone.

"That's how I am. I consistently believe in my ability and what I can do each year so even if I was to win again, most likely I would give another opportunity.

"I love racing and I love going out there and being challenged by different competitors.

"We've been racing for 18 years so it's not the worst scenario for me."

The relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg, who were friends from their days as karting team-mates, became strained over their three years fighting for world championships, but Hamilton said things were at their most civil in the final season.

"This year has probably been the best," Hamilton said of their relationship.

"We kept to ourselves and did our jobs. Apart from [clashes in] Austria and Barcelona, we've not had any real issues.

"It's been straightforward. We will probably rarely see each other moving forwards, living in the same building we hardly ever see each other.

"We rarely pass each other, so I don't see much changing, except he'll be on holiday more.

"I don't know what he plans on doing but perhaps he'll be around more."

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