Petronas driver is seventh, one spot above Schumacher
Nico Rosberg has grown up watching Michael Schumacher becoming a legend. Now as a teammate-cum-competitor of the seven-time champion, Rosberg enjoys the thrill of racing alongside the man who changed the face of Formula One in Germany.
Rosberg, the son of former F1 champion Keke Rosberg of Finland, started karting in 1996 when Schumacher had already won two races. Today, leading the legend on points is an experience the 26-year-old values a lot.
“It is a great challenge to race against him. I managed to stay ahead of him, but it is difficult. It is great, it is enjoyable,” said the Mercedes GP Petronas driver during an interaction with the media during Bajaj Allianz's ‘Drive Safely' campaign here on Tuesday.
Rosberg, with 67 points, at present is seventh in the drivers' ranking, while Schumacher is eighth with 60 points. “I am happy with the way I am driving. I am putting in a lot of effort and learning,” said the youngster.
“Your teammate is the first guy to beat. But it is a healthy competition. We understand that we are all employees of Petronas.”
According to Rosberg, who represents his mother's country Germany, it was Schumacher who revolutionised the F1 scenario and drew more youngsters to the sport.
“It used to be German drivers all along the years. But the biggest change was Michael Schumacher. He made the race so big in Germany.”
Schumacher's effort brought in a lot of money to the sport and big companies started supporting young German drivers.
Rosberg said it would be difficult for his team, positioned fourth with 127 points behind Ferrari (310), and himself to improve their rankings this season.
“Unfortunately, the car cannot run fast this year,” he said, while nearly ruling out the possibility of a podium finish for him this year.
He, however, was optimistic about the team's success next season as Mercedes was in the process of improving its car.
Giving an account of the enhancement of safety measures in F1, Rosberg said during his father's time there used to be concerns about the drivers' safety. In contrast, these days F1 drivers were much safer because of the efforts of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
F1 driver-turned-commentator Christian Danner agreed. “The attitude of racing drivers towards safety was zero…It was because we did not have a strong FIA. That has changed now.”
Rosberg hoped that the inaugural Indian Grand Prix would be able to create its fan base in the host country.
The Mercedes driver, who was yet to see the track, banked on the inputs to say that the long straight in the BIC would be helpful for the cars with good engines to touch top speed.