Nico Rosberg edged out Lewis Hamilton to secure his maiden Formula One World Drivers' Championship in the 2016 season.
The German and his Mercedes teammate enjoyed a tense battle over the course of the campaign, but Rosberg was just able to edge out the Brit to claim the crown.
However, the 31-year-old then stunned the sport by promptly announcing his retirement due to his desire to spend more time with his family and away from the potential dangers of the track.
Rosberg’s departure has left the race for the championship open, although Hamilton is considered the leading contender to win his fourth crown.
At the early stage of the season, Hamilton’s odds are still relatively favourable at 4/6, therefore it could be worthwhile registering with new betting sites in order to capitalise on this price following his victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Rosberg’s battle with Hamilton had been the storyline of Formula One for the three seasons the men were teammates at Mercedes, with both drivers jostling for the top place on the podium.
However, Hamilton edged the battles, winning more races than the German and earning two championships compared to his one, along with another crown during his time with McLaren.
Following his early retirement, there will be debate over where the German ranks in terms of his place in the history of the sport.
Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton are the two dominant drivers of the current era, with the Brit hauling down the German’s title haul. Their battle this season could well define who will go down as the dominant driver.
Rosberg took himself out of that conversation with his decision to retire, although had he maintained the level of his form, the 31-year-old could well have notched multiple titles given his age and the quality of vehicle provided by Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso and Mika Hakkinen both won multiple titles, but their careers have and did fade away due to their advancing years, with the Spaniard enjoying his best success early in his tenure.
However, history will still remember the duo as great champions; especially Alonso, who achieved his crowns with Renault – a team that had never boasted a title winner before his arrival.
Before the days of Michael Schumacher, the 1980s were extremely competitive, and although some quality drivers only managed to secure one crown, the difficulty of the field as well as conditions on the track would take them out of consideration as a comparable to Rosberg.
The German’s place in history will likely be remembered alongside one-time champions Damon Hill and Kimi Raikkonen. Hill had a relatively short career and was forced to battle Schumacher near the peak of his powers, but still managed to claim a solitary crown along with two second-place finishes.
The same could be said of Raikkonen, with his success coming in 2007. At that time, Schumacher’s career had ended as a force in the sport, with only Alonso for company at the top as Hamilton and Vettel were just getting their feet beneath them.
Rosberg’s journey was somewhat different as he enjoyed success later in his career, making the pilgrimage to the dominant side. However, he achieved the same number of titles and the same second-place finishes.
The 31-year-old would surely have accepted his place in the company of Hill and Raikkonen at the beginning of his career, ensuring that he will always be remembered in the history of the sport.