Since his inaugural year in Formula 1, Nico Rosberg has fought for the chance to follow in his father’s footsteps of becoming the Formula One World Champion. Now, in his tenth season in the sport, Rosberg has finally achieved that premier status.
Down to the final laps of the season, Rosberg held tightly to second place; Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen were both within 1.2 seconds of Rosberg, making the margin for error incredibly thin. Hamilton held his pace, momentarily disregarding his teams advice to allow Rosberg more room for an assured second place finish. Every driver fought until the last seconds of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Luckily, for Rosberg, he finished just behind Hamilton giving him enough points to become the 2016 Driver Champion.
Rosberg started out his career in Formula 1 with Williams in 2006. After a successful career in Junior Racing and Formula 3, Rosberg signed with the team and started to show he was capable of scoring points even when racing against legends such as Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. Though he showed some success with Williams, it was not until he joined Mercedes in 2010 that his career really took off. Racing alongside Schumacher at that point, Rosberg found himself much more consistent and more of a competitor, averaging over 100 points per season in his first four years. In his last three seasons, he just fell short of the World Championship twice to his teammate Lewis Hamilton, but —with an incredibly slim margin of only 5 points over Hamilton— Rosberg found himself to be the World Champion in 2016.
Winning the first four races of 2016 had set Rosberg up in spectacular fashion to force Hamilton to overcome technical issues that had plagued him since the start of the season. This not only made for great inner-team competition, but allowed Mercedes to unquestionably claim the Constructor Championship as well.
Mercedes has dominated the sport for the past three seasons, but 2016 seemed to be indicative that Red Bull and Ferrari will continue to fight back. A long off-season will allow both of these teams to determine what it is they need to overthrow the most recent Driver Champions— if it is possible at all.