“The champagne tastes great. I could drink it a few more times,” Rosberg said after winning a Grand Prix on his 111th attempt. British drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were second and third respectively.
World champion Sebastian Vettel managed to catch up from his number 11 on the grid and reached 5th place, though he could not hold on to the second he gained a few laps before the end.
But the man of the day was Rosberg – 20,671 days after Jan Manuel Fangio won the title in Italy for the Mercedes team.
“Awesome,” Mercedes racing car chief Norbert Haug said of Rosberg’s victory.
German veteran racing star Michael Schumacher might have completed a Mercedes one-two, but he had to give up due to tyre troubles in the 13th round. But Schumacher was magnanimous despite his woes.
“That’s part of it,” the racing champion said during the race. “I’m crossing my fingers now for Nico.”
By contrast, things went well throughout the race for Rosberg. In the 35th lap he changed tyres – significantly later than his competition, in attempt to eliminate one of the tyre breaks.
After the pit-stop, Rosberg came back into the race in second, behind Button. But then Button’s left rear tyre got stuck in the pit-stop, handing Rosberg a significant lead.
By the 40th lap it was clear that only a technical disaster could prevent Rosberg from claiming his first win.
The last-minute drama was about who would finish behind Rosberg. By the 52nd lap, Vettel was losing ground and the two Brits managed to overtake him.
While a trio of world champions – Vettel, Hamilton, Button – battling it out for the second and third spot, Rosberg continued to cruise. After 56 rounds – and 305 kilometres – the title was his.