34 years after the first Finnish driver ever won the F1 world championship, his son, the German-born Nico Rosberg, won his first world title – only the second time a father-son combo won world titles after Brit racers, Graham and Damon Hill (28 years apart).
In the longest ever F1 season to date – 21 races – Nico Rosberg felt the pressure from all sides, especially during a stunning season finale at Abu Dhabi on Sunday night. Lewis Hamilton, his teammate and rival, who was 12 points behind, led the race and slowed down the pace deliberately to get Rosberg involved with the chasing Ferrari (Sebastian Vettel) and Red Bull (Max Verstappen). Everyone was bunched up, frustrated, behind a very sly Lewis Hamilton, who twice rebuffed team orders on the radio to quicken up and not play tricks. “I’m quite comfortable here in the lead. Let us race,” he retorted, as Rosberg pleaded with the team to make Hamilton go faster and not cost them the race. Hamilton needed Rosberg to come fourth, given that they would end up on the same points and he’d win by virtue of winning more races (10 to Rosberg’s 9).
In the end, the 31-year-old German withstood all the pressure, and finished second, winning his first-ever title by five points. Hamilton was a glum man, and his team wasn’t very happy with him by the end. They will definitely consider disciplining him.
But it was Rosberg’s night and year – and fellow German ex-world champ Sebastian Vettel joined in the celebrations, ending a tough season with Ferrari on the podium at his favourite circuit.
Here are some fascinating numbers about Rosberg FINALLY winning his title:
10 – number of years it took Rosberg to win a title in F1 since his debut, the second-highest ever, behind Nigel Mansell’s 12 years.
10 – number of races Hamilton won this season, including four in a row towards the end. He has now won 32 of his 53 races with Mercedes.
206 – number of races it took Rosberg to win his first title, the highest ever in the history of the sport. Mansell took 176 races and Jenson Button (Abu Dhabi was his last-ever race, along with Felipe Massa) took 168 races.
9 – number of races Rosberg won in the season.
8 – number of poles for Rosberg, as compared to Hamilton’s 12.
0 – number of mechanical failures for Rosberg, compared to Hamilton’s two this year. Rosberg had one retirement, compared to Hamilton’s two.
34 – number of Rosberg’s career retirements, as compared to Hamilton’s 25.
33 – Rosberg became the 33rd driver ever to win the F1 World Championship.
385 – highest number of points by an F1 driver ever to win a season. Hamilton finished on 380 for second; he had 381 last year as the winner, and 384 in 2014 as the winner.
16 – number of podiums (out of 21 races) for Rosberg this year, as compared to Hamilton 17.
7 – number of years for Rosberg with Mercedes, compared to Hamilton’s 4.
23 – number of career race wins for Nico Rosberg in 10 years.
12 – number of world titles won by Germans (Schumacher won 7, Vettel 4 and Rosberg 1) in F1, as compared to Britain’s 16.
10 – number of German driver titles since the turn of the century.