Son of former World Champion Keke Rosberg, Nico Rosberg did the seemingly impossible, beat Lewis Hamilton in the same car. He shockingly retired five days after securing the championship, at the peak of his Formula 1 career.
Born on June 27, 1985, in Wiesbaden, Germany, three years after his Finnish father Keke Rosberg won the World Championship, Nico Rosberg spent his childhood in the Principality of Monaco. This turned out to be vital for little Nico, as the streets of Monaco had provided the motivation for him to climb through the ranks of motorsport, from karting to Formula 1.
Early on, it was made clear to Nico that racing should not hinder his education, something he took seriously. Diligent Rosberg is now known for his polyglot capabilities, being able to be articulate in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. In addition, it was noted he was a competitive child, having cried when his father beat him at tennis.
Keke was his manager during his karting years, having previously managed double world champion Mika Hakkinen, who was Nico’s boyhood hero. During the Formula A karting championship, Nico met a certain Lewis Hamilton, who became his teammate, initiating a friendly rivalry. The two became very close friends, with the latter often spending vacations with the Rosbergs.
In 2002, Rosberg, now with a German passport due to his mother’s nationality, proceeded to race in Formula BMW ADAC, winning at 17 years old and securing a test driver with Williams F1. Nico then raced in the F3 Euroseries for Team Rosberg and then in GP2 with ART, two years later, winning the championship while still serving as test driver for Williams.
In 2006, he was signed by Williams F1 for a full-time drive for the 2006 season. He debuted with a blast, securing the fastest lap and finishing seventh in his debut in Bahrain, just behind teammate Mark Webber. Rosberg drove for Williams for 3 years, proceeding to join the newly rebranded Mercedes GP, alongside a returning Michael Schumacher, who was past his prime.
Rosberg consistently outperformed his teammate in the three years Schumacher raced for Mercedes, with Rosberg winning from pole in Shanghai in 2012. In 2013, with 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton as his teammate, Rosberg won twice, including Monaco, though he was outscored during the season by Hamilton, who finished fourth to Rosberg’s sixth overall in the standings.
In 2014 Rosberg upped his game, winning five races and scoring regularly, in contention to beat Hamilton to the title till the final race at Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, Rosberg lost power in his Mercedes and had to retire from the race. In 2015, things got intense in the Mercedes garage between the two teammates as both drivers were keen on outperforming the other, with Hamilton eventually became champion for the third time.
All this changed in 2016 however, as Rosberg started the season strong with four successive victories. In Spain however, the two rivals collided on the first lap and retired from the race, making it clear that neither were willing to settle for second place. Throughout the season, the two went on back-to-back wins, nothing was clear till the final title decider in Abu Dhabi where Rosberg came second and won the championship.
Five days after winning the title, he stunned the world by announcing his retirement with immediate effect at the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Vienna. After his retirement, Rosberg ventured into many things. As an F1 pundit on TV, he distinguished himself as a highly articulate commentator. He established his own channel on YouTube, documenting the continuing adventures of Nico Rosberg. In addition, he recently founded his own Extreme-E team, Rosberg X Racing, which is currently at the top of the table.