Ros­berg a win­ner among champs

> Ger­man draws level and is odds on to join Hill as only sons of world cham­pi­ons to take F1 ti­tle

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

NICO ROS­BERG drew level with Damon Hill in For­mula One’s all-time list of race win­ners on Sun­day and the odds are nar­row­ing on the Ger­man match­ing the Bri­ton again as the only sons of world cham­pi­ons to take the ti­tle.

Hill, the 1996 cham­pion and son of late double ti­tle-holder Gra­ham, cur­rently stands alone with that achieve­ment but maybe not for much longer.

Even if Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton re­mains the book­mak­ers’ favourite to take his fourth ti­tle, Ros­berg is in­creas­ingly fan­cied af­ter re­tak­ing the cham­pi­onship lead with six races to go.

“While Ros­berg has the ad­van­tage on pa­per, we think Lewis Hamil­ton is still favourite but only just,” com­mented Wil­liam Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

Malaysia, next up in two weeks’ time, could swing the bal­ance fur­ther to­wards the Ger­man who has won all three races since the sum­mer break and eight – out of 15 – this sea­son.

He is eight points clear of Hamil­ton, the first time he has led the stand­ings since July, and reach­ing new lev­els of per­for­mance.

“I’ve known Nico since 2013 and that is the best Nico Ros­berg I have ever seen through­out the week­end since then,” de­clared Mercedes mo­tor­sport head Toto Wolff. “He was just blind­ingly fast.”

The Ger­man is al­ready a For­mula One phe­nom­e­non, hold­ing an un­wanted record that he hopes to shed – that of the most suc­cess­ful driver not to win a cham­pi­onship.

He took that from Bri­tain’s Stir­ling Moss, who won 16 grands prix and was four times over­all run­ner-up in the 1950s.

No driver has ever won eight races in a sea­son and not taken the ti­tle, even if there are a record 21 this year, so that would also be a first if he fails to pre­vail.

Ros­berg, whose Fin­nish fa­ther Keke took the 1982 ti­tle and won just five For­mula One races, al­ready has more vic­to­ries to his name than 19 cham­pi­ons.

His 22 puts him level with Hill, whose fa­ther ranks some way be­hind on 14.

One more would put Ros­berg level with triple cham­pion Nel­son Pi­quet of Brazil, two would equal five-times cham­pion Juan Manuel Fan­gio of Argentina.

By the end of the sea­son, if he con­tin­ues the streak, he could have passed Niki Lauda, Jim Clark (both 25) and Jackie Ste­wart (27).

Finns have al­ready hailed Ros­berg as their most suc­cess­ful driver – the Ger­man-born Monaco res­i­dent has a Fin­nish pass­port – since he over­took double cham­pion Mika Hakki­nen and 2007 win­ner Kimi Raikko­nen (both 20 wins).

Ros­berg made more his­tory in Sin­ga­pore on Sun­day when he be­came, in his 200th ca­reer start, the first non-cham­pion to win that flood­lit race since it joined the cal­en­dar in 2008.

“What a week­end, crazy stuff,” he said. “It just all came to­gether re­ally well...

“Sin­ga­pore hasn’t treated me all too well in the past years, es­pe­cially 2014 break­ing down on the start whilst I was in the cham­pi­onship bat­tle. So to get the win here was also ex­tra-spe­cial.” – Reuters

– AFPPIX

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Ger­man driver Nico Ros­berg jumps from his car as he cel­e­brates win­ning the For­mula One Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix in Sin­ga­pore on Sun­day.

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