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Decision to lay off the bike meant driver was lighter, which made the difference as 2016 season reached its decisive point

Nico Rosberg has claimed that s decision to give up cycling was directly responsible for his winning the Formula 1 world championship last year.

The 32-year-old, who has dual German and Finnish citizenship, said that deciding midway through the season helped him save weight, reports MotorSport Week,

Rosberg insisted that his decision also messed with the head of his rival and Mercedes AMG Petronas team mate, Lewis Hamilton at a crucial point in the season.

"Every single detail counts,” he explained. “In the summer break last year I decided to stop cycling because the leg muscles are among the heaviest things on your body.

“I lost 1kg as a result that August. We came back, and three races later it was the Japanese Grand Prix."

Rosberg qualified in pole position for that race ahead of Hamilton by just 0.01 of a second and is adamant that it was deciding to forgo riding his bike that made the difference.

"One kilo of body weight is 0.04 of a second per lap when the car is at the weight limit,” he explained.

“My smaller leg muscles got me on pole, and that messed with Lewis's head, so he messed up the start.

“I finished first, he finished third, and I had the points lead that I needed to be able to cruise home with second places."

Rosberg retired from Formula 1 just five days after the end of his championship-winning season and revealed that he made the decision on the starting grid of what proved to be his final race, in Abu Dhabi.

"I was trying to apply all my meditation skills, but nothing worked.,” he said.

“What worked was the realisation that this might be my last race.

“I was like, 'Oh damn, okay, let's go and enjoy the driving -- it might be the last time!' That clarified all the stress," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.