Sindelfingen day

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Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Motorsport meets Sindelfingen, Mercedes AMG Petronas, F1, Formel 1, Lewis Hamilton ; Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Motorsport meets Sindelfingen, Mercedes AMG Petronas, F1, Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton;

 

Sindelfingen: “THANK YOU!” – this was the message delivered by Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton together with their Mercedes crew today. It was high time to express gratitude for the immense support given by colleagues at Mercedes-Benz in the past three seasons. Rosberg also took the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone at Mercedes-Benz after announcing his retirement yesterday.

16,500 employees accepted the invitation to return to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen for a celebration of the Formula One hat-trick with the freshly crowned World Champion, and let’ not forget three-time World Champion Hamilton. The banner headline for the event was ‘Motorsport meets Sindelfingen’, so the employees and their families were treated to all the fun and glamour of the racetrack during the course of the afternoon.

There was a pit stop contest in which employees could try their hand at changing wheels and discover for themselves the standard required of the professional crews who fit a car with four new tyres in under two seconds on a race weekend. There was also an opportunity to demonstrate driving skills under track conditions on the DTM simulator. The drivers and team officials also gave fascinating insights into paddock life in a number of interview sessions.

But the demo laps on the Sindelfingen testing track were surely the highlight of the day. Among the vehicles given an outing were the Formula One World Championship-winning cars of 2014 and 2016 as well as various DTM and customer sports vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Not only the Formula One stars Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon took their turn at the wheel but also the entire Mercedes-AMG DTM Team as well as junior talents such as Maximilian Günther and Mick Schumacher. To round off the spectacular, there were appearances by motorsport legends David Coulthard, Bernd Mayländer and DTM record champion Bernd Schneider.

Nico Rosberg: “It’s hard to believe that almost a week has gone by since I won the title. And what a crazy week it has been! First came that amazingly tough race in Abu Dhabi, then the enormous sense of relief after crossing the finish line, and after that the emotional moments spent with the team and my family.

“Then on Tuesday, we had the World Championship celebrations with our team partner Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, and yesterday it was the FIA Prizegiving Gala in Vienna at which I announced my retirement from Formula One. At last, I got my hands on the championship trophy. For me, a childhood dream had come true. And now here I am today, standing in front of so many Mercedes-Benz employees and thanking them for the huge support they have given me and my motorsport family over the past years.

“I will never forget you. This is a very special feeling. It’s been long and difficult road, but 2016 was my best ever Formula One season and I’ve also driven my best races this year. The whole thing was just mega.”

 

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Mercedes-AMG, Motorsport, Sindelfingen, F1, Nico Rosberg ; Mercedes-AMG, Motorsport, Sindelfingen, F1, Nico Rosberg;

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Motorsport meets Sindelfingen, Mercedes AMG Petronas, F1, Formel 1, Nico Rosberg ; Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Motorsport meets Sindelfingen, Mercedes AMG Petronas, F1, Formula 1, Nico Rosberg;

A dream fulfilled: Nico Rosberg ends his racing career

Signing for the Silver Arrows - November 2009

Signing for the Silver Arrows – November 2009

First Silver Arrows Test - Valencia 2010

First Silver Arrows test – Valencia 2010

 

After Friday’s bombshell, which I think did take Mr Hamilton by surprise, Nico Rosberg is the first reigning World Champion to end his career since Alain Prost in 1993.

In an emotional address prior to the 2016 FIA Prize Giving in Vienna, Austria, Nico revealed the reasons behind his decision, which was reached following his crowning achievement in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.

Nico has competed in a total of 206 Grands Prix and won 23 of them, placing him joint 12th on the all-time list alongside Nelson Piquet. He has scored 30 pole positions (8th all time) and 20 fastest laps. Last Sunday in Abu Dhabi, he became the first German driver to win a Formula One World Championship at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow.

Nico Rosberg: “Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

“This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target.

“I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.

“I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg (Nolte, from Nico’s management team), followed by Toto.

“The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me. My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people, the Silver Arrows.

“Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me…”

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff: “This is a brave decision by Nico and testament to the strength of his character. He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as World Champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.

“It’s impossible to capture the essence of a person in a few short words. But Nico has a special combination of natural talent and fighting spirit that have brought him to where he is today. Throughout his career, people have thought he was on a golden path to success just because his father was a World Champion; in fact, I think in some ways that made the challenge greater – and meant he had to fight even harder with the weight of expectation on his shoulders.

“With Mercedes, Nico has been a relentless competitor, bouncing back from tough times in an inspirational way, and he earned the respect of the sport with his tenacity, his fighting spirit and his grace under pressure. Since 2010, he has poured competitive energy into our team and we have grown stronger because of it. We simply say ‘thank you’ for the incredible contribution he has made to our success, alongside two of the all-time great drivers, Michael and Lewis.

“For the team, this is an unexpected situation but also an exciting one. We are going into a new era of technical regulations and there is a free Mercedes cockpit for the seasons ahead. We will take the necessary time to evaluate our options and then find the right path for our future.”

 

First Silver Arrows Win - China 2012

First Silver Arrows win – China 2012

World Championship Win - Abu Dhabi 2016

World Championship win – Abu Dhabi 2016

 

Nico back at Brackley

Nico Rosberg Celebrates 2016 World Drivers' Championship Title at Brackley

 

Party week continued for the newly-crowned Formula One World Champion, as Nico Rosberg paid a visit to Silver Arrows HQ in Brackley to celebrate with members of the team.

After winning the title on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg first made a brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) where employees of title partner PETRONAS welcomed him to a World Championship party in the PETRONAS Twin Towers followed on Wednesday by a trip to Wiesbaden – the town where he was born.

And that’s how the next few days looked set continue until Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport just before the FIA Prizegiving Gala in Vienna yesterday. Today he’s with Mercedes-Benz employees in Sindelfingen.

 

Nico Rosberg Celebrates 2016 World Drivers' Championship Title at Brackley

Well, Sahara’s organised

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

 

While everyone continues to party down Abu Dhabi way, Sahara Force confirmed its fourth place finish in the constructors’ championship today as Nico Hulkenberg ended his final race for the team in seventh place, just ahead of team mate Sergio Perez in eighth.

Nico Hülkenberg
Tyre strategy: Used UltraSoft (8 laps) – New Soft (18 laps) – New Soft (29 laps)
“It was quite a simple and lonely race actually, mainly racing with my teammate because the top six cars were just out of reach. Turn one was quite interesting because I got hit by Max (Verstappen), which damaged the floor of my car and made things a bit more difficult.

“Fortunately we had the pace to hold position and bring home the result. It’s great to end my time at Force India with a strong result and help the team finish fourth in the championship. Everybody deserves congratulations and big credit for the amazing job this year. I leave this team with lots of happy memories and Force India will always be a part of my life. I’ve learned a huge amount here and they have made me a better racing driver. We’ve grown up together and I’m proud of what we have achieved.”

Sergio Perez
Tyre strategy: Used UltraSoft (9 laps) – New Soft (18 laps) – New Soft (28 laps)
“I am pleased with my race. I finished where I started and it was a quiet race for most of it, but it got a bit tense in the final laps when I had to fend off Felipe (Massa).

“I pushed really hard at the beginning of my stints, trying to close the gap to Nico, but in the end I finished just behind him. It was great to finish the season with some points and to end an incredible year with a good result. Now that the season is over, I will go back to Mexico and enjoy some rest.

“It’s been a long and intense year and I am looking forward to some downtime with friends and family. They’re going to be happy holidays, thinking about what we have achieved this year. I’ll chill out a bit and then it’s back to work for 2017!”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“To end the season with two cars solidly inside the points and with fourth place in the constructors’ championship feels fantastic. It has been a tremendous year for us and it’s important to pay tribute to each and every member of the team for all their hard work and hours of dedication back at base and at the track. All the effort has paid off and we can now celebrate the best ever year in our history.

“Both drivers did a super job today, as they have done all year long. It’s great that Nico could end his time with us on a high note and we thank him for everything he has done for us during his five years as a Force India driver. He’s been a big part of our journey up the grid and it has been a pleasure working with him.

“Credit to Sergio, as well, who becomes the first Force India driver to cross the 100 points in a season milestone. He’s been exceptional this year and fully deserves to finish seventh in the drivers’ championship.”

 

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Hamilton and “dirty tricks”?

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sunday

 

I don’t think so. Compared with the masters – Senna and Schumacher, backing up a bit to help those behind Rosberg gain advantage and so place him further down the finishing positions is tame.

Remember that time when Jacques Villeneuve laid into Michael Schumacher for a succession of what he perceived to be dirty tricks and deliberately lying to his fans and fellow drivers? Let’s also not forget 1994 where Schumacher collided controversially with Damon Hill. When Senna took Prost out at Suzuka in 1990, he said he was going to do it before the race.

So please. Put it into perspective and drop the sensational headlines…

The demon duo does it again

 

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, SaturdayLewis Hamilton has taken his 61st career pole position – his third at the Yas Marina Circuit and 12th of the 2016 season so far. Nico Rosberg completed a 14th Silver Arrows front row lockout of the season in P2 – his 60th front row start in Formula One. The team has now taken 20 pole positions from 21 races in the 2016 season, which is a new all-time record. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 and Q2 then two runs in Q3, using UltraSoft tyres throughout.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third, but 0.834 secs slower than Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been an awesome weekend so far. It’s rare that you end almost every session on top, so I’m very, very happy, with that. It’s down to the hard work done by the mechanics and the engineers to get the car where I need it, so I’m grateful to them for that, as always.

“I felt so great out there tonight. It’s really sad that this is the last Qualifying session we’re going to do in this car! It’s a dream for any driver to have something this good to drive. I’ve been doing my practice starts from the pole slot all weekend as I wasn’t planning on being anywhere else for tomorrow. I came here knowing that was a big part of what I needed this weekend and, now I’ve got that, I can focus on the race. Getting away in front will be the next important step. You need a big pace delta to overtake here, so the start will be crucial.

“Tonight, though, I need to look at strategy and how things need to work for me to get the win. At the moment, my pace is that little bit better. But I can’t control what happens behind me. All I can do is focus on my own race. You never know what might get thrown into the mix, so I’m just hoping my car is as beautiful as it has been so far this weekend and aiming for the win.”

Nico Rosberg: “I came here to be on pole, so I’m not ecstatic today. I was feeling good in the car today and put in some good laps at the end. But Lewis did a great job and was just a few tenths quicker. I’m still in a good position to win the race and I want to end the season on a high. There are a few opportunities tomorrow, so I look forward to an exciting battle.

“The Yas Marina Circuit is a great track and I’m feeling very good before the last race of the year. I am proud and happy about how this season has gone for me until now. Tonight I will relax a bit with Vivian and some friends and come back tomorrow in top shape.”

Tomorrow is promising to be a cracker, yet also tinged with some sadness as we say goodbye to Felipe Massa and Jenson Button.

 

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday

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