Recently, the final Grand Prix of the racing calendar, hosted in Abu Dhabi, occurred, and seemed to be a pivotal moment in the season. Heading into the concluding race, both Mercedes’ drivers seemed to both mathematically be able to claim the World Championship, yet it seemed three-time champion, and last year’s winner, Lewis Hamilton, may have been the underdog compared to his German counterpart. As such, it seemed many individual’s predictions were correct, as whilst Hamilton won the race, Rosberg’s second place finish enabled him to win the title by a margin of five points. As such, he has become the 33rd driver in history to claim the crown, perhaps suggesting he may be considered alongside F1’s elite as he is amongst a handful of men who have won the alluring pinnacle of the sport.
Heading into the race, Rosberg led Hamilton by 12 points, and seemed to arrive at Abu Dhabi with the knowledge a podium finish may secure the championship. With the Brit needing to finish ahead of his teammate in order to continue to be in contention, it seemed Rosberg may have been the favourite to emerge with the crown. Yet, Hamilton seemed to utilise his vast array of experience during the race as, after starting in pole, he attempted to control the pace and bring other drivers into the race; this tactic, if successful, may have allowed the chasing pack to catch Rosberg and perhaps overtake him, culminating in a larger margin of victory for Hamilton. Ultimately, whilst Hamilton did indeed take the chequered flag, Rosberg seemed to showcase the reason as to why he led the standings, seeming to utilise the pressure from Vettel and Verstappen to drive at his peak ability, and finish in second place.
With the title now secured, the German seems to have emulated his father’s achievements; Keke Rosberg won the championship in 1982, and perhaps the vast experience in the Rosberg family may have contributed to Nico’s win, and in turn perhaps act as a catalyst in the future. Whilst the championship seems to be the jewel in Rosberg’s crown, he seems to have amassed other records and achievements, which have perhaps contributed to his abilities as a driver. This season, he won 9 races, contributing to his overall tally of 23 wins, which places him 12th in the all-time list. He has also amassed 30 pole positions and, in his 200th race at Singapore, the German took the chequered flag. Ultimately, he seems to possess an array of experience, and by drawing upon his achievements from his 206 races he may be able to win further trophies.
Heading into next season, it seems Rosberg may be the favourite to take the crown again, although the 2017 campaign may present a new challenge; with multiple drivers announcing their retirement from the sport, most notably Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, there may be an opportunity for young, fresh drivers to showcase their talents on the grid, and compete for podium finishes. Coupling this suggestion with the knowledge Hamilton won ten of this season’s races, there may be a suggestion of next season being a competitive and intriguing spectacle, where every race may be vital in order to ultimately win the title. Yet, Rosberg’s first championship win may suggest he is driving at his peak ability, and perhaps it is this experience which may enable him to win further titles.
With the grid perhaps being altered ahead of the 2017 season, and with new technology allowing cars to be adapted and improved in order to gain speed, Rosberg may need to increase his repertoire, both mentally and physically, in order to retain his title. Yet, Rosberg may have already enhanced his ability, as nine race wins, and ultimately a World Championship, may have enabled him to become a more accomplished driver, perhaps elevating his status above his father’s. Crucially, in becoming the 33rd man in history to win a World Championship, Rosberg may have enhanced his legacy in the sport, and perhaps now possesses the credentials to be considered alongside members of the Formula 1 elite.
Which other drivers on the grid may possess the ability to replicate the achievements of previous World Champions?