Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

PROFILE

Despite spending his childhood around the paddock with his father – 1982 world champion Keke – Nico Rosberg was never guaranteed a future in F1. Brought up in Monaco, he was encouraged to pursue other hobbies, and even considered becoming a professional tennis player.

He started karting at the age of 11 and in 2002 he moved up to German Formula BMW, winning the title in his first season with nine victories. At 17 he became the youngest person to drive an F1 car when he was given a test with Williams, and he never looked back. Driving for his father’s team, Team Rosberg, he graduated to Formula 3. In 2005 he was offered a place at Imperial College in London to read for a degree in Aeronautics, but decided pursue a career in racing.

His gamble paid off and that year he moved into the GP2 series with ART racing, winning the championship in his rookie year and beating rival Heikki Kovalainen by 15 points. Such an impressive display earned him a seat with Williams for the 2006 season, alongside Mark Webber.

His debut at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix could not have been more impressive. After an early collision with Nick Heidfeld, which saw him slip to the back of the field, he recovered to secure his first points by finishing seventh. In the process, he also became the youngest driver ever to record a fastest lap. In his second race he qualified third, only to bow out on the third lap with engine failure. He ended his rookie season in 17th, with four points.

In 2007 Rosberg improved on his debut season result with 20 points, enough for ninth in the drivers’ standings. His best result came in Brazil at the final race of the season, where he finished fourth. He had to wait until the following year, however, to secure his first podium finish. At the opening race of the 2008 season he took third but bettered it in Singapore with a second place finish behind Fernando Alonso. However, mixed results throughout the season meant he completed the season down in 13th.

His progress continued into 2009 and it soon became clear that his talent was not being matched by the Williams he was driving. Brawn GP [later Mercedes] quickly recognised this and snapped him up as a driver for 2010, leading to three podium finishes over the course of the season as he comprehensively outperformed team-mate Michael Schumacher.

Unfortunately, the progress didn’t continue the following year as 2011 passed without a single podium finish. 2012 was a different story and at the third race of the season Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix to give Mercedes its first victory as a constructor since 1955. Impressive performances followed, including second at Monaco, but the car’s pace dropped off almost as quickly as it had emerged and he failed to score a single point at the final six races of the season.

After three years beating Schumacher he was faced with Lewis Hamilton as a team-mate in 2015, and the early signs were ominous as Mercedes told the clearly-quicker Rosberg to hold station behind his team-mate in Malaysia. He soon responded though with three consecutive pole positions and victory in Monaco, following that with a second win in three races at Silverstone.

The season petered out with only two podiums after that high point, but Rosberg had shown himself to be a match for Hamilton and the two will remain a strong pairing in 2015.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Rosberg is one of the most talented drivers on the circuit, with natural pace and ability. However, he has yet to prove that he can develop a car into a winning machine.

Career High
Taking his debut victory at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix with a dominant victory over the rest of the field.

Career Low
After qualifying third at the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix, Rosberg was a comfortable second and in with a chance of catching leader Lewis Hamilton for his first race victory. He pitted on lap 18, but crossed the white line exiting the pits and received a drive-through penalty, eventually finishing a disappointing 11th.

Quotes
“Generally it is just annoying. I know that I am very lucky to have a father like that and it has helped my career but in the end you are the one who is racing and results are yours.” Rosberg on being compared to his father, Keke.

“He is the most exciting driver on the track. He digs himself out of some holes that we put him in sometimes – comes by three places up at the end of the first lap. He is single-minded, chirpy, a little arrogant which is good – he is always very good with the promo people, never an objection, he is very good.” Williams team principal Frank Williams.

Trivia
Although his father, former F1 champion Keke Rosberg, is Finnish, Nico, whose mother is German, races under the German flag. He speaks fluent German, English, Italian and French, but does not speak Finnish.

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