Nico Rosberg finally managed to defeat his childhood competitor Lewis Hamilton, taking the championship by 5 points. 2015 was not easy for him, but he had a good exit to the season by winning the last 3 races which led to his brilliant performance in the starting of the season as well. There were ups and down in the roller coaster of a season that it was, but we present to you five of his best performances of the season, which justify his resilience and make him a worthy champion.
1.Singapore Grand Prix:
It’s beyond a doubt that Singapore will feature as one of Rosberg’s finest drives ever. He came into this race winning the previous two races in Spa and Monza and thus cutting his teammate’s championship lead to a mere 2 points. If the previous year’s race were to be taken as a precedent, Mercedes were expected to struggle.
Heading into the early sessions of the Grand Prix, both Hamilton and Rosberg showcased pace, although Hamilton’s sessions were destroyed due to issues with his car. Rosberg went on to complete a stunning lap to put him on pole, whereas Lewis Hamilton had to settle for third place.
The start of the race was perfectly executed by Nico Rosberg who led from start to finish, controlling the race pace and looking after the car despite early issues with his brake management, something Hamilton was struggling with as well.
Hamilton was involved in a battle for the last podium position with Kimi Raikkonen. He took an aggressive pit stop on lap 45 as a result of which Ferrari panicked and gave Kimi the pit stop as well. Seeing the pace of the duo, Red Bull responded by giving Daniel Ricciardo a pit stop for a fresher set of tyres, effectively without losing a grid position. Mercedes couldn’t risk letting Rosberg in at all because of the brilliant outlap done by Ricciardo. Thus, Nico now had to hold off the Aussie who was expected to catch him by the last two laps. Nico ,in return, responded, putting in some stellar laps himself and thus managing to hold off the charging bull for a well deserved victory by a mere 0.4s. A championship worthy drive indeed.
Coming into the season finale, Nico Rosberg had a 12 point gap over Hamilton who had won the last three races in USA, Mexico and Brazil. The gap meant that Hamilton had to finish on the podium to even stand a chance to win the title and Rosberg had to be on the podium to win the race irrespective of where Hamilton was.
Hamilton dominated all of the practice sessions and the qualifying sessions as well. Storming to a pole with a lap, Rosberg agreed “was just not possible”.
Both had a clean start and maintained their positions. Max Verstappen, having started 6th, spun off at the start, thus going all the way to the back and later switching off to a single stop strategy by managing to run his super softs for a long time. Hamilton came ahead of Verstappen after the pit stops, with Rosberg behind him, which meant he had to overtake the Dutch teenager, already known through the paddock for being aggressive and over defensive. After losing time behind him, Mercedes instructed Rosberg to overtake him, and he did, through a move, that if not executed well, would have led to him colliding with Verstappen taking a puncture or damaging the car.
After this what followed were consecutive fast laps by Rosberg to close the gap to Hamilton who was controlling the pace throughout. Vettel, who hadn’t made his pit stop was leading the race with the Merc duos behind. He took his final pit stop and switched on to red walled super soft tyres and the race was still on for him! Vettel dropped off behind Raikkonen in sixth but quickly overtook the Finn and Ricciardo ahead to catch up Verstappen.
With Hamilton controlling the pace, going considerably slow despite repeated attempts by Mercedes to not do so, the four cars got incredibly close to one another with Vettel overtaking Verstappen soon.
What followed was Hamilton desperately running slow, Rosberg knew that one small mistake from him would mean him losing the world championship, dropping off to fourth. He put on perfect laps and managed to hold off Vettel and thus winning his maiden world championship by 5 points.
He showcased nerves of steel, managing to hold off Sebastian and Max and not committing any mistakes in this process. They were nervous moments. Moments that can shake any driver into committing a mistake, but he held on to it.
This was a race that Nico Rosberg had to win anyhow to boost up his morale and move forward towards his championship. Hamilton was 9 points ahead before this race.
Hamilton took the vital pole thanks to his fresh, new engine that he had accumulated in Belgium. Rosberg followed in second.
The start is where Hamilton lost it all. He had massive wheel spin and Nico had an absolute clean start as he took the lead.
The race was straightforward for him after that, turning a faultless drive to a race victory and thus managing to hold his nerve against Hamilton to cut his lead to a mere 2 points.
The circuit of Baku with its peculiar and risky corners and long straights was difficult for everyone to understand and master. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton continued their dominance at the top trading top position at the time sheets in different sessions.
The pole lockdown was cut short by Hamilton crashing in Q3 and thus Nico Rosberg managing to take the pole with Hamilton only at tenth place.
The race was tricky for both the Mercedes drivers. Both suffered from a settings issue with the car and, thanks to the restrictions on the radio, Mercedes could do nothing about it. Rosberg found a fix pretty soon while Hamilton found it difficult and hence struggled to secure fifth place while the German took a strong victory.
After losing to Hamilton in Canada and Monaco, this was yet another crucial win for him to keep his confidence high.
Having won the previous three races but failing to get the pole, people started questioning Nico’s worth and measuring his success as a mere fluke thanks to Hamilton’s issues.
But Russia was different.
With the positive mindset that he was in, having won the starting three races of the year, he came into Russia and immediately took the time of the time sheets including the pole.
His start was, again, flawless as drama unfolded behind him. He ran a perfect race with no hiccups whatsoever and ended up finishing a massive 25s ahead of Lewis Hamilton, thus making it 4 out of 4 for him.