You’ve just won your first grand prix and brought Mercedes-Benz its first Formula One victory since 1955. The world is singing your praises and some sections of the media are even tipping you for world championship glory in 2012.
How do you celebrate such a breakthrough moment? With a burger and chips.
Nico Rosberg, the man in question, headed straight to Pudong airport on Sunday night. Once his bags were checked in, he strayed from his usual strict diet and opted for a slab of beef in a bun and some deep fried potatoes. That was as wild as the celebrations got.
“To win my first race was a hugely satisfying moment,” says Nico, “but I had no desire to go out and have a massive party. I knew all along that I had a flight to catch and by 2330 on Sunday night I was at 37,000 feet en route to Dubai.”
His only travelling companion on the flight was his physio, Daniel Schloesser; he had no other friends or team members with him.
“The sense of euphoria was still there when I landed in Dubai on Monday morning,” says Nico. “But it didn’t last that long because I had to begin focusing on the next race in Bahrain. On Monday afternoon I did a light training session to shake off some of the physical stresses of the previous day and by Tuesday I was back training hard.”
Nico did most of the training outside in an effort to acclimatise to the 31-degree heat of the Middle East. He ran along the beach and cycled along the seafront, and his only media commitment of the day was a long interview with German newspaper, [i]Bild[i].
Tuesday ended in frustration, however, when he couldn’t find anywhere in his hotel showing the Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid Champions League semi-final. Regular phone calls to friends kept him up to speed with events and the match ended in a second German victory of the week.
“Following a football match using text commentary isn’t very satisfactory,” he says. “That’s when you have to rely on your friends for information!”
Nico paid a visit to the headquarters of Daimler Middle East on Wednesday and he was welcomed like a hero. He then made the short hop to Bahrain in the evening and, come Thursday, he was into the swing of another grand prix weekend.
“Niki Lauda said to me on Sunday that the first win is the hardest,” says Nico. “I hope he’s right.”
He ended Friday’s two practice sessions fastest of all.