GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #32 - Nico Rosberg

12-02-2020 19:00
by Adam Newton
General
GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #32 - Nico Rosberg

Welcome back again everybody to GPBlog’s countdown of our top 50 F1 drivers of all time! It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway through another week without F1, but it’s getting closer, with lights out in Melbourne just 32 days away. Yesterday’s profile was someone who could be challenging for that race in Max Verstappen, but today we’re talking about one of his old rivals, Nico Rosberg.

Son of Keke, who came in at number 50 on our list, Nico Rosberg became only the second son of a previous F1 world champion to win the title himself. The others are Graham and Damon Hill, but you’ll have to wait for their rankings!

Rosberg made his debut for Williams in 2006 after beating Heikki Kovalainen to the GP2 series title the previous year, scoring points on his debut with P7 in Bahrain.

He made two podium appearances for Williams but was unable to fight at the front on a regular basis.

His performances did do enough to earn him a seat at the returning Mercedes team, renamed from Brawn from 2010 after their incredible title win.

So the pressure was on Rosberg, and that’s before we mention the fact that seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was going to be his teammate, coming back after a retirement that lasted just three seasons.

None of this seemed to faze Rosberg though as he made three trips to the podium and scored almost double Schumacher’s points.

He would outperform Schumacher again in 2011 and in 2012 Rosberg finally won his first Grand Prix at the 111th time of asking when he brilliantly took the victory in China.

2013 would pose another challenge as childhood friend Lewis Hamilton joined him at Mercedes, starting one of the most famous rivalries in F1.

He won at Monaco and Silverstone but his best moments were yet to come as the Silver Arrows became the dominant team in 2014.

That season saw a shootout between him and Hamilton for the title as the pair won 16 races between them. Rosberg was still in with a shout of the title at the final race thanks to the bizarre double points rule that year, but Hamilton took the win and the title.

2015 saw more Hamilton dominance but Rosberg fought back when the title was already gone, winning the final three races of the season.

That set him up for a blistering start to the 2016 season, winning four on the bounce, opening up a 43-point lead on Hamilton.

Their relationship fully broke down at the next race in Spain when they crashed into each other on the first lap, both immediately retiring.

Hamilton fought back over the next races and the pair clashed again in Austria. Following consecutive victories for Hamilton in Austria, Britain, Hungary and Germany, the title looked like it would slip away from Rosberg as he trailed the Brit by 19 points.

However, four victories in the next five races and an engine failure for Hamilton in Malaysia whilst he was leading meant that Rosberg held the upper hand once again.

He came home second behind Hamilton in the final four races of the season to clinch the title by just  five points.

Days later he announced his shock retirement from the sport claiming he had fulfilled his life goal.

Many people criticise Rosberg for running away from the fight or getting lucky in beating Hamilton, but not many people have achieved what he managed to do and get the better of one of the best ever over a season, even if it was fortunate.

Rosberg had a terrific career and whether you like him or not, he fully deserves his place on this list.

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