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“A short story about Nico Rosberg”

March 24, 2017


For no reason, this little story about Nico Rosberg popped into my head today, so I thought it would be nice to share it with you.

Over the weekend of the 2015 DTM season finale at Hockenheim, then Mercedes racer (and future world champion) Nico Rosberg was brought in to take part in a round table with the press.

Mercedes were, and still are, very good at roping in some of their Mercedes drivers, as well as Mercedes-engined and Mercedes-partnered drivers in for the press over some of the DTM’s more significant weekends.

This has included conversations with Nico Hulkenberg (then Force India-Mercedes), Esteban Ocon, David Coulthard (formerly McLaren Mercedes), Pascal Wehrlein (then Manor-Mercedes) and others. It is a welcome practice that offers a touch of spectacle and opportunity to the DTM {note 1}.

On this particular occasion, I remember being surprised that Rosberg had been brought in. The German was, at the time, still in with a slim shot of winning the 2015 World Championship, although teammate Lewis Hamilton was rather far ahead in the points. So, one week prior to the key race of 2015 at COTA, Rosberg attended the press engagement at the Hockenheimring.

Most apparent throughout the conference was the rather strained impression drawn by Rosberg. In a year where he had seemingly fallen well behind Hamilton, the Mercedes man was sent in to fend off a barrage of questions from a 25-personed unfamiliar press corps, all of whom digging for a story to sit atop of their weekend motorsport contributions.

The presser was mostly uneventful in the end and there were few truly difficult questions, until toward the end of meeting, when one Spanish journalist (at his sole DTM event of the year) asked Nico ‘if he expected Hamilton to help him in his battle to finish 2nd in the World Championship.’

In a split moment, Rosberg’s brow creased noticeably and a deep “oooohh” emanated from the regular journalists, partnered by a series of grimacing faces that screamed “oh shit”. A few struggled to hold back laughter.
It was the most unexpected question. Rosberg’s reply, worded through the grittiest of gritted teeth, referred the journalist back to points standings and that he ‘still fully intended to fight Hamilton for the title.’

The conference ended shortly thereafter and Rosberg was gone, very quickly. A week later, Formula One descended upon the Circuit of the Americas where poor weather tore through the region, leaving a circuit doused as the race began. Rosberg was leading late on and was in a position to gain on Hamilton in the points standings, but a late spin from the German gave Hamilton the necessary points and the title.

Rosberg still took 2nd place in the standings, but he did so without Hamilton’s help – the Briton, now a three-time World Champion, having seemingly switched off for the rest of the season.

{note 1}
This is not to say that Audi and BMW do not do this either, they do, but as neither Audi nor BMW are currently in F1, they cannot realistically offer current F1 drivers for media purposes. However it must be added that both manufacturers have been very kind to produce stars from other forms of motorsport through the years for media engagements, such Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Alex Zanardi amongst many others.

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