2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Nico Rosberg


Driver: Nico Rosberg
Age: 29
F1 Debut: Bahrain 2006
Starts: 165
Wins: 8
Pole Positions: 14
Podiums: 26
Championships: 0 (Best – 6th in 2013)
2014 Record: 5 wins, 317 points (2nd)

ABU DHABI – Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton may have raced as teammates when they were kids in go-karts, but their careers have not been totally parallel since then. They may both now drive a Mercedes and be in with a shot of winning the 2014 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, but this is Nico’s first opportunity to win the title – it’s Lewis’ fifth.

Rosberg was the first winner of the GP2 Series back in 2005, beating Heikki Kovalainen to the title, and managed to secure a drive with Williams for 2006. Despite posting the fastest lap of the race on his debut in Bahrain, he scored just four points in his rookie season. He did enjoy a more successful 2007, though, finishing ninth in the drivers’ championship and establishing himself as the team leader at Williams.

While Hamilton stormed to his first world title in 2008, Rosberg scored points on just five occasions. Notably though, two were podium finishes, coming third in Australia and second in Singapore. The race in Melbourne marked the first time that Nico and Lewis had finished on the podium together in F1, sparking a hearty celebration between them in the cool-down room. How times have changed…

The change in the regulations for the 2009 season worked in Williams’ favor, allowing the team to use the double diffuser to good effect as its rivals unsuccessfully questioned its legality. Rosberg enjoyed a more consistent season, finishing seventh in the drivers’ championship. He had done enough to secure a move to the works Mercedes team that had taken over the championship-winning Brawn operation for 2010.

Now with the might of a manufacturer behind him, Rosberg began to excel. He made a superb start to the season, scoring two podium finishes in the first four races to sit second in the championship. Although only one more top three result would follow that year, he finished an excellent seventh in the standings with nearly double the score of his teammate, Michael Schumacher.

2011 and 2012 were more difficult years for Rosberg, but the latter season did bring an important breakthrough: his first win. In China, Nico dominated proceedings to claim his first victory in Formula 1, being one of seven different drivers to win the first seven races of the year. A run of six pointless races at the end of the season meant he finished just ninth in the championship, and with Hamilton racing alongside him at Mercedes in 2013, many expected a one-sided teammate battle to unfold.

Just as Jenson Button held his own against Lewis though, Rosberg did much the same. In a year that saw Mercedes finally start to hold its own at the front of the field, he picked up two wins in Monaco and Great Britain, the latter coming when Sebastian Vettel’s car ground to a halt. In a year that was dominated by Red Bull, Rosberg did well to win as and when he did, as well as scoring points in all but three races. In the final standings, he was just 18 points shy of Hamilton’s final total.

And so we come to 2014. The seismic change in the technical regulations allowed Mercedes to rise to the very top of the pecking order, producing one of the greatest cars that the sport has ever seen. In the hands of Hamilton and Rosberg, it has been put to very good use – heading into this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi, they have scored 15 wins, 17 pole positions and 651 points. It’s a remarkable record.

For Rosberg, this year has been more consistent than spectacular. Unquestionably, this has been the best season of his career, yielding five victories, with his win at the German Grand Prix in July being particularly poignant. A German driver racing for a German team winning at Hockenheim, just one week after the national football team had won the World Cup? That was remarkable enough. Throw in the fact that Nico had also got married and signed a new long-term deal with Mercedes in the same two-week period, and you can see why he looked to be on top of the world.

Just one week later in Hungary, though, the cracks in Rosberg’s title bid began to show. The argument that many had – this writer included – for this year’s championship was that Rosberg’s strength over Hamilton was the way in which he does not let his emotions get the better of him. However, when the Briton refused to let his faster teammate through at the Hungaroring and eventually beat him onto the podium, Rosberg was fuming.

The one month summer break gave Nico the chance to calm down, yet all he did was stew over the issue. When he arrived at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix, he seemed stressed in the early media sessions. Something was clearly up, and it soon became obvious just what on the second lap of the race when the two drivers made contact after Rosberg refused to pull out of an overtake at Les Combes. He went on to finish the race in second place while Hamilton retired.

In the aftermath of the race, Rosberg told the team that he was still upset about what had happened in Hungary (one month ago) and didn’t pull out to “prove a point”. Mercedes’ management disciplined Rosberg, but he still had the mathematical advantage at the top of the standings.

Yet the psychological impact of the incident turned the tables at the top of the championship. Next time out at Monza, Rosberg was in a strong position, leading the race after Hamilton made a poor start and dropped to fourth. However, when Hamilton began to reel him in, Rosberg cracked, making a mistake and allowing his teammate through en route to the race win.

A technical issue in Singapore forced the German driver to retire after just a few laps, and he lost out to Hamilton whilst leading in both Japan and the USA, with a mistake in Russia on the first lap costing him a shot at the race win. The end result? A 24-point deficit heading to the penultimate round of the year in Brazil.

Just when he needed it though, Rosberg refound his form, winning a race for the first time since the German Grand Prix and soaking up all of the pressure that Hamilton applied. Although the Briton is still the overwhelming title favorite, the result did greatly increase Rosberg’s number of outs for Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg has already broken the record for the most number of second places in a single season by any one driver, and he has perhaps been less impressive than Lewis. However, he would still make a very worthy champion. Much like Keke Rosberg’s (Nico’s dad) win in 1982, it could be that the man lurking in the shadows will be illuminated under the lights in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s