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Rosberg heading for records in 2016

Nico Rosberg celebrates his Chinese Grand Prix victory (Image: Daimler AG)

Nico Rosberg celebrates his Chinese Grand Prix victory (Image: Daimler AG)

Nico Rosberg is currently leading the 2016 World Drivers’ Championship. Whether or not he wins the title this year, it seems inevitable that Rosberg will break at least one record this season.

With 6 races remaining (including tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix), Rosberg already has 8 wins in 2016. That’s already one more than the highest number of wins without winning the title in a season. Currently the record stands at 7 (Alain Prost in 1984 and 1988, Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 and Michael Schumacher in 2006). If Rosberg loses out on this year’s championship, he will certainly break this slightly unfortunate record.

A happier record that beckons for Rosberg is the most wins in a season for a first-time champion. Currently the record stands at 9, achieved by Nigel Mansell when he won his only title in 1992. Rosberg has 8 wins with 6 races remaining in the season and he is in fine form, having won the last three races in succession. It therefore seems probable that he will at least equal Mansell’s 9 wins, and likely that he will exceed that number.

One other record is possible, but unlikely. Currently the record for most wins in a season stands at 13 (Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013). If Rosberg wins all 6 remaining races this year, he will have clocked up 14 wins in 2016. It seems improbable that Rosberg will break this particular record, as it would require him to win 9 races in a row. It would not, however, be the first 9-race winning streak in F1 history – Sebastian Vettel won the last 9 races of 2013.

Rosberg qualified second for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, putting himself in a strong position to fight for victory and draw closer to the title and a record-breaking total of wins in 2016.

The Beginning

Racing began for me in 1992, and existed purely in Formula 1. This was the year of Nigel Mansell and Williams. The Williams FW14B remains one of the best looking racing cars I’ve ever seen.

1992 showed the nature of Formula 1 in so many different ways. Williams had the fastest car by a massive margin, and it showed. It enabled Mansell to win 9 races that season (a record at the time) on his way to the driver’s championship, and brought Williams the constructor’s title. It was a very clear display of the advantage of superior machinery.

There was one driver who was able to compete with Williams. That driver was Ayrton Senna. In a McLaren that was far off the pace of the Williams, Senna won 3 races that season, including at Monaco where he held off a much faster Mansell for lap after lap in the closing stages of the race. It was a demonstration that the great drivers can win without having the best car, and it showed the enormous skill of Senna.

The Belgian Grand Prix revealed another characteristic of Formula 1. In changing weather conditions, Schumacher took his first victory, after pitting for the right tyres at the right time. He won by over half a minute, which was a very clear indicator of the importance of race strategy and adaptability.

It was a year of exciting racing between great drivers. Senna, Mansell, Berger, a young Schumacher and Patrese all topped the podium during the season. The cars looked fantastic. It was still a time when cockpit sides were low, which allowed a view of the head, shoulders, arms and hands of the drivers at work. The cars scraped along the ground, with sparks flying from the front wing end-plates and from the rear of the cars down the straights.

1992 was my introduction to Formula 1, and has defined my view of racing ever since.

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