‘Mis­sion ac­com­plished’ for emo­tional Ros­berg

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Nico Ros­berg said it was “mis­sion ac­com­plished” as the Ger­man star re­ceived his For­mula One world cham­pi­onship tro­phy on Fri­day, just hours af­ter he stunned sport by de­cid­ing to quit. The 31-year-old paid trib­ute to long­time friend and Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton, the out­go­ing world cham­pion, as well as his father Keke Ros­berg who won the F1 ti­tle back in 1982.

“It’s mis­sion ac­com­plished as far as I am con­cerned,” the Ger­man told the FIA prize giv­ing cer­e­mony at a star-stud­ded event in Vi­enna. “I’m so proud to be here. It’s been a pretty in­tense pe­riod but it was my child­hood dream.

“When I saw this tro­phy for the first time to­day, I im­me­di­ately went and found where my dad’s name was on it. It’s very spe­cial and emo­tional to share with him what he did 34 years ago.” Ros­berg ad­mit­ted that had he come up short in the cham­pi­onship this year, he would have car­ried on in 2017. “When I was six, I wanted to be world cham­pion and I have done it. Now on to other things-fam­ily first, see what the fu­ture holds and just fol­low my heart.”

Ros­berg edged Hamil­ton to the ti­tle but he paid gen­er­ous trib­ute to the Bri­ton.

“Lewis was awe­some so to take the ti­tle away from him is very spe­cial,” added Ros­berg who ad­mit­ted that win­ning the ti­tle was the sec­ond most in­tense thing he has done.

“Well, watch­ing my wife give birth, that was pretty in­tense.” Dutch driver Max Verstappen won the award for FIA Per­son­al­ity of the Year and FIA Ac­tion of the Year.

The colour­ful Red Bull driver be­came the youngest win­ner of a Grand Prix when he tri­umphed at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya in Spain at the age of 18 years and 228 days.

It was one of only two races not won by a Mercedes driver in 2016 — the other went to Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo in Malaysia.

Mean­while, the world rally cham­pi­onship tro­phy was pre­sented for the fourth suc­ces­sive time to Se­bastien Ogier and co-driver Julien In­gras­sia.

But it was an emo­tional night for Ogier whose Volk­swa­gen team re­vealed last month that 2016 was to be their last sea­son in the cham­pi­onship.

“The whole story of the last four years has been amaz­ing-the time of our lives,” said Ogier.

“It has come to an end and we are look­ing to the fu­ture and think­ing about new chal­lenges. We are con­fi­dent that we can still be part of the next cham­pi­onship.”

Ogier was cheek­ily asked if he’d be in­ter­ested in fill­ing the va­cancy cre­ated by Ros­berg at Mercedes in next year’s For­mula One world cham­pi­onship. “Well, my heart’s in ral­ly­ing and I’d need to get a su­per-li­cence,” he said. “But it would be a great story, no?”

VI­ENNA: Nico Ros­berg, 2016 F1 World cham­pion, right, ar­rives with his wife Vi­vian Si­bold at a FIA gala at Hof­burg palace in Vi­enna, Aus­tria, Fri­day. Cur­rent For­mula One World Cham­pion Nico Ros­berg an­nounced Fri­day that he will re­tire from For­mula One rac­ing. — AP

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