2016 Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg says watching this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix from the sidelines will be "emotional".
The three-time Monaco Grand Prix winner, who retired from the sport just five days after pipping Lewis Hamilton to last season's F1 title, is set to make his first appearance at a grand prix this year at the upcoming race in Monte Carlo. With the circuit just a short walk from his home, Rosberg says he is anticipating a "special" experience returning to the race as a spectator, rather than as a competitor.
"The Monaco Grand Prix is going to be the most emotional race for me to get back to because I've closed a chapter now on my career and I have all these amazing memories and emotions," Rosberg explained. "Now coming back to the race track, meeting all the people again and seeing all my fans here in Monaco -- where I always had so much support from them. Coming back now as a world champion, that's going to be amazing.
"In general I am feeling a total fulfillment in terms of my career having finished at the very, very top. For me personally it was the best thing I could do and coming back now to the Monaco Grand Prix with all those positive emotions is really going to be very special, and coming back now as a world champion to the race track where I have had the most success in my career and coming back to all the people that have supported me so much all these years. All the locals, because it's my hometown, it's for sure going to be incredible."
Rosberg's former teammate Hamilton has been battling Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for supremacy in the early stages of the current campaign, with the pair separated by just six points in the drivers' standings with two wins each. Rosberg believes the emerging title battle in 2017 has been an "awesome" advert for F1.
"The races so far this year have been absolutely awesome for Formula One," he said. "There's been everything; excitement, stuff happening, they've been unpredictable so we can't wish for more. Of course this year I am also keeping a close eye on all the drivers and at the moment Sebastian and Lewis are standing out as the best guys, they are doing a great job.
"Of course some other guys are doing well too but for now it's them," he added. "It's a great fight, Mercedes and Ferrari, Lewis and Sebastian and I think for Lewis also it will be a very, very different situation because last year he only had the support of half of the team behind him, and this year he has the whole team supporting him in this fight of having to beat this other driver. So I am sure it's very different."