Nico Rosberg may have arrived in Shanghai for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix with plenty of momentum, yet he will leave with something far bigger on his side: history.
Victory at the Shanghai International Circuit saw Rosberg extend his streak of Formula 1 wins to six races, putting him in a very exclusive club.
Only three drivers in the history of F1 had won six in a row prior to Sunday’s race. Alberto Ascari and Sebastian Vettel both took nine in a row in 1952-53 and 2013 respectively, while Michael Schumacher completed a sequence of seven in 2004 and six on the bounce across 2000 and 2001.
They are widely recognized as three of F1’s greatest ever drivers. And now Rosberg is statistically alongside them.
In reality, it means nothing for the championship. But the fact that Rosberg has won the opening three races of the year does if history is to be trusted.
Rosberg’s victory in China saw him become the fifth F1 driver to win the opening three rounds of the season, ranking alongside Ayrton Senna (1991), Nigel Mansell (1992), Michael Schumacher (1994, 2000 and 2004) and Damon Hill (1996).
In all six of those seasons, they would go on to win the championship. History suggests that Rosberg will now do the same.
And yet few would freely consider Rosberg to be more than the mathematical or statistical favorite. Teammate Lewis Hamilton may trail by 36 points, but he has shown over the years that he can easily go on a streak of wins.
Luck certainly hasn’t been on Hamilton’s side so far this season, making it foolish to consider his bid for a fourth title to be over already. With 18 races still to go, there is everything to play for.
Rosberg will revel in today’s victory though, and rightly so. “We’re going to party now in the garage,” he said on the podium.
“That’s going to be great fun because everyone in the team deserves it so much. and then straight back home to my family, can’t wait to see them.”
Even if history is on Rosberg’s side, he won’t rest until the championship is firmly in his hands.