Nico Rosberg says giving up cycling helped make him Formula 1 world champion

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.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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