Like fa­ther, like son

. . . an­other Ros­berg wins F1 ti­tle

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emi­rates — Nico Ros­berg will no longer be known sim­ply as the son of For­mula One cham­pion Keke Ros­berg.

The Ger­man driver is now a cham­pion in his own right af­ter clinch­ing his first ti­tle on Sun­day to match his fa­ther’s achieve­ment from 1982.

“Two Ros­bergs are world cham­pi­ons ... if I’ve got my sta­tis­tics right,” Nico Ros­berg joked mo­ments af­ter clinch­ing the ti­tle.

Gra­ham Hill (1962, 1968) and Da­mon Hill (1996) are the only other fa­ther and son to have won the ti­tle.

Ros­berg’s sec­ond place at the sea­so­nend­ing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was enough to wres­tle the ti­tle away from Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton and also pre­vented his archri­val from clinch­ing his third straight and fourth over­all.

“It’s un­be­liev­ably spe­cial to beat him be­cause the level’s so high,” Ros­berg said. “It makes this so much more sat­is­fy­ing for me, be­cause he’s the bench­mark and I took the world cham­pi­onship away from him.”

Ros­berg ended on 385 points to Hamil­ton’s 380.

Just like his fa­ther, Ros­berg drives in the No. 6 car.

His 67-year-old fa­ther was one of the most flam­boy­ant driv­ers of his gen­er­a­tion.

“Every Satur­day night I get a text from him: ‘Pedal to the metal.’

That’s it,” Ros­berg said. “It’s been good how he’s let me get on with it and taken a step back. So I’m very thank­ful for that.”

Ros­berg’s ti­tle went down to the wire in a nerve-shred­ding fi­nale.

“I was re­lieved” his fa­ther said af­ter the race in the F1 pad­dock. “Two laps from the end I was ner­vous.”

With Hamil­ton pur­pose­fully slow­ing him down, two other driv­ers hard on his tail and the ti­tle on the line, Ros­berg did not crack.

Hamil­ton won the race from pole po­si­tion for his 53rd GP win.

But Ros­berg was 12 points ahead of him be­fore the race and only needed to fin­ish no lower than third if Hamil­ton won.

“It was so in­tense, the race, so tough,” said the 31-year-old Ros­berg, who fin­ished run­ner-up to Hamil­ton in the past two years.

Ros­berg re­peat­edly wiped his face and low­ered his head sev­eral times in the pos­trace news conference, ap­pear­ing emo­tion­ally ex­hausted as he tilted back into his chair and rubbed his eyes.

Still, he ex­pects to find plenty of en­ergy to cel­e­brate his win.

“Tonight’s go­ing to be ab­so­lutely nuts,” he said. “I don’t think I’m go­ing to be avail­able for a few days.”

Hamil­ton made it hard for Ros­berg by dis­obey­ing team or­ders to speed up near the end, in a bid to back Ros­berg to­ward Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Max Ver­stap­pen in third and fourth places, re­spec­tively.

“If I had dropped be­hind those guys, it was over,” Ros­berg said.

Vet­tel could not quite pass Ros­berg, fin­ish­ing third ahead of Ver­stap­pen and fourth over­all in the cham­pi­onship be­hind Red Bull driver Daniel Ric­cia­rdo.

“Nico drove well not to make a mis­take,” said Hamil­ton, who won 10 races this year.

— AP

Mercedes driver Nico ros­berg of Ger­many (left) cheers his team­mate Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton of Bri­tain on the podium af­ter the emi­rates For­mula One Grand Prix in Abu dhabi, UAE on sun­day.

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