Interview with F1 star Nico Rosberg

Stephen Dinneen
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Mercedes’ hot-shot Nico Rosberg talks tactics, watches and gardening.

NICO Rosberg drives for the rejuvenated Mercedes Formula 1 team alongside Brit Lewis Hamilton. The son of former world champion Keke Rosberg has already been involved in controversy this season when he was ordered not to overtake Hamilton, despite appearing to be the faster of the two at the end of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Hamilton went on to claim a podium spot but admitted Rosberg should have been standing there instead. With the Mercedes cars performing well, Rosberg says he is hopeful of a solid season. We caught up with him ahead of the Shanghai Grand Prix earlier this month (in which he was forced to retire) to discuss the tactics incident and why Germans make such good Formula 1 drivers.

My life isn’t particularly glamorous. I like to cycle, I am learning to play the guitar. I even like to grow vegetables in my vegetable garden. It’s not the lifestyle you might expect.

The Mercedes team has done an amazing job over the winter. We were so far behind at the end of last year and now we’re right up there with the fastest people, with a realistic chance of finishing on the podium in every race. I don’t think you can expect a turnaround like we have had – it has been massive. I expected us to be better but not as good as this. It’s a big boost for everyone and I’m feeling very positive.

I didn’t like the team’s decision [to stop him overtaking teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Malaysia Grand Prix] but I respect and understand it. I just want to look forward now and get results in the upcoming races. I can understand that for fans, tactics can be a bad thing – they just want to see racing. But Lewis and I get on well – he is a tough competitor and a good guy.

My dad gave me an IWC watch for my graduation with an engraving on the back so IWC has always been special to me. The Mercedes team is working with IWC to promote its new collection and I really think it’s a great fit.

Michael Schumacher inspired a generation of German kids. I think this is why we have so many top drivers. They see him and want to have a go. There is also a lot of financial backing, giving young drivers a break.
Monaco is maybe my favourite track. It’s my home town and it’s a huge challenge for me to do well there. Interview by Steve Dinneen

■ IWC is launching a F1 themed pop-up exhibition in Selfridges Wonder Room on 24 June, presenting the new Ingenieur collection and celebrating the engineering partnership with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team.