Lewis Hamilton says he is not surprised by Nico Rosberg's shock decision to quit F1 - but says he will miss their fierce rivalry at Mercedes.
Rosberg's announcement he is retiring from the sport with immediate effect within a week of winning his first world title has taken the F1 world by surprise.
But Hamilton, who has known Rosberg since they were teenagers, says he isn't stunned by the news.
Attending the same FIA prizegiving gala where Rosberg announced his retirement, Hamilton was quoted by Reuters as saying: "This is the first time he's won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.
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"He's also got a family to focus on, and wants more children, and Formula 1 takes so much of your time. Will I miss the rivalry? Of course."
Hamilton and Rosberg had been Mercedes team-mates since 2013, but the friendly relationship they developed when teenage drivers in karting collapsed under the weight of their subsequent world title duels.
Despite their rivalry, Hamilton says both he and the sport as a whole will miss Rosberg.
"It's going to be very, very strange and it will be sad not to have him in the team next year," added Hamilton. "The sport will miss him and I wish him all the best.
"Of course it is a shame that he won't allow me to take it [the title] back or fight to take it back but that is his choice and I respect his decision: go out on top while you can."
Until Rosberg's announcement, Hamilton's long-term future at Mercedes had been under the spotlight following controversy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he ignored team instructions and deliberately slowed his team-mate in an attempt to make the German lose positions.
Asked who he would like to see alongside him at Mercedes in 2017, an unfazed Hamilton replied: "It doesn't matter who...I'll race them, I'm here to race."