Nico Rosberg on surprise F1 return plan replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Nico Rosberg entertained the idea of making a sensational return to F1 last year after four years away from the sport.

The German won the 2016 drivers' title ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and soon after confirmed he was calling time on his F1 career.

Despite the fact he had signed a new £18m-per-year deal earlier that year, he decided to walk away after "climbing his mountain" and achieving what he had set out to do.

But Rosberg has now revealed he thought about reversing that decision in 2020 and returning to the grid for one final drive if the opportunity came.

When Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 and was ruled out of the Sakhir Grand Prix as a result, he says he gave a lot of thought to filling in for his old racing partner.

"But I physically would not have been able to. No way," he said while speaking with Jenson Button on his YouTube channel, admitting that the physical demands would have been too much for his body after so long away.

"I would not manage more than two laps with that car. My arms would solidify rock solid, my fingers… I wouldn’t be able to hold the steering wheel anymore after two laps, I am sure.

"Not to speak of the neck falling between my legs when I’m braking, because I wouldn’t be able to hold my head up!

"The G-forces on those things, the challenge and the development you need on all your specific muscles, your arm muscles…

"It’s very on the edge. So physically, no chance."

In his retirement, Rosberg has continued to be heavily involved in motorsport and has made regular appearances a pundit, often for Sky Sports in the UK.

He has also been a champion of more sustainability in motor racing, and is a huge investor in the Formula E series as well as owning a team in the brand new all-electric off-road series Extreme-E.

Meanwhile, with Rosberg deciding not to pursue his desire to fill in for Hamilton in Bahrain last year, it was George Russell who stepped up temporarily from Williams.

After impressing in that race and ever since, the young Briton will make that move permanently for next season, as he replaces Valtteri Bottas to compete alongside compatriot Hamilton from 2022.

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