Rosberg was born in Wiesbaden, Hesse, West Germany; the son of Finnish 1982 Formula One world champion Keke Rosberg and his German wife Sina. Rosberg was born only four days after his father won the 1985 Detroit Grand Prix, driving a Williams. Rosberg, who spent much of his youth in Monaco with his family, still lives in the principality and speaks French and Italian fluently. He holds dual citizenship, German and Finnish and has competed under both the Finnish and German flag during different points in his early career. He currently competes under the German flag as a driver's nationality is defined by his passport during all FIA world championships.
Rosberg married his childhood friend and long-time fiancee Vivian Sibold on 11 July 2014. Their daughter, Alaϊa Rosberg, was born on 30 August 2015.
Rosberg started out in karting at the age of six; later in 2000 he and Lewis Hamilton were teammates. Rosberg then moved up to German Formula BMW in 2002, where he won the title. His performances resulted in a move to drive for his father's team in Formula 3 Euro Series, a combination of the several national Formula Three championships that had existed prior to its formation. Rosberg did well there, and stayed on for 2004. In early 2004, he got one of his first tastes of Formula One by doing a test session with Williams.
Offered a place on the aeronautical engineering course at Imperial College London; Rosberg declined and in 2005 joined the ART Grand Prix team in the newly created GP2 Series. He went on to become the first driver to win the GP2 title.
In late 2005, Rosberg was officially confirmed as a Williams driver for the 2006 season. In the Engineering Aptitude Test, administered to all new Williams drivers, Rosberg achieved the highest score in the team's history. In the first Formula One race of his young career in Bahrain, Rosberg was driving a car which was not considered competitive enough to get to the podium. and also had to fight his way through the field after losing his nose cone on the first lap. Nonetheless, he finished in the points, seventh behind teammate Mark Webber, and recorded the fastest lap, becoming the youngest driver to do so in F1 history. Following this he was linked with a move to teams such as McLaren.
He qualified third at the next round Malaysia, but his Cosworth engine, on its second mandatory race, blew up after only seven laps. Rosberg did get into the points for the second time in the 2006 season at the European Grand Prix, benefiting from the hydraulic failure of his teammate.
The rest of the 2006 season went less well for Rosberg; he retired in four of the next seven Grands Prix, and in the ones he did finish he was outside the points. His closest attempt to get into the points was in Britain, where he was just one second behind eighth placed Jacques Villeneuve. Rosberg scored a total of four points, three fewer than teammate Webber, over the course of what was a disappointing season for both himself and for the Williams team.
Williams brought in new Toyota engines for 2007, along with a new team-mate, Alexander Wurz. Rosberg's old team-mate, Mark Webber, had moved to partner David Coulthard at Red Bull Racing. Initially, the Toyota powered FW29 showed potential in the pre-season test sessions. However, Rosberg remained realistic: "in F1 you cannot normally just jump back to the front [of the grid] from one year to the next".
In 2007, Rosberg finished in the points seven times, including a career best fourth at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. He was also placed seventh in the Australian, Hungarian and Turkish Grands Prix and came home sixth at the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix. At the Canadian Grand Prix, Rosberg qualified seventh and moved up two places from the start:
"Early in the race I thought I was set for a good result because I was running fifth and the car felt really good, but then the Safety Car came out on lap 21... I had to stop for fuel on lap 23, which meant I missed the re-fuelling window by 13 seconds and that effectively ended my race. New rules punish people who pit immediately after the Safety Car comes out, so I was given a 10s stop-go penalty and all I could manage after that was 10th place."
He suffered only three retirements during 2007; hydraulic failure 14 laps from home in Malaysia and an oil leak at the US Grand Prix five laps from the finish (although classified 16th), where he was on course for sixth place. He had started the race 14th having "glazed" his brakes during qualifying, therefore damaging his confidence. An electronics glitch also put him out of the Japanese Grand Prix.
During the first half of 2007 season, Rosberg saw his teammate Alexander Wurz score more points, but later in the season Rosberg passed Wurz in world championship points, eventually more than quadrupling his 2006 points haul with 20 points.
Rosberg secured the first podium finish of his career with a strong drive to third place at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. However, the remainder of the season was more of a struggle. He was given a ten place grid penalty for the French Grand Prix, as a result of crashing into the back of Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane at the Canadian Grand Prix, despite only his race being affected by the incident as Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen were already eliminated.
In September he finished second to Fernando Alonso in the floodlit Singapore Grand Prix after leading a Grand Prix for the first time in his career. This result was despite incurring a ten-second stop-go penalty for pitting while the pitlane was closed immediately after the deployment of the safety car. However, as what appeared to be a simple administrative formality took ten laps to issue, and the slow car of Giancarlo Fisichella was between Rosberg and the next competitive car during those laps, he did not lose much time and rejoined fifth, whereas Robert Kubica dropped from fourth to last on the same penalty for the same offence.
Rosberg had a solid season in 2009, scoring points at almost every race and also consistently qualifying in the top ten. He opened the season with a solid sixth place in Melbourne, before fading somewhat in the next three races. From China onwards however, he improved, finishing eighth, then sixth, then fifth twice. At his home race in Germany, he put in arguably the best drive of his career at the time, when he overcame fuel problems to climb from 15th on the grid and finish fourth ahead of championship leader Jenson Button. He then followed this up with another fourth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix and 5th in the European Grand Prix. Despite scoring a point in the Belgian Grand Prix, Rosberg's effort to score points at every race in the European season was ended by a lack of pace at Monza. Despite this, Rosberg returned to competitiveness at the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix by qualifying third and putting in the fastest lap of the weekend in Q2 (1:46.197). Despite overtaking Sebastian Vettel off the line, and being on course for second place or even a maiden victory, Rosberg undid all his good work by crossing the white line out of his first pit stop and incurring a drive-through penalty just in time for the safety car. With the field bunched, he dropped to the back, effectively ruining his race. Rosberg apologised to the team afterward, calling his mistake 'silly' and 'stupid'. Rosberg managed to claim fifth place at the Japanese Grand Prix after qualifying eleventh and starting in P7 on a good strategy after a number of grid penalties. Soon after the race Jenson Button reported Rosberg to race stewards for speeding under yellow flag conditions, but Rosberg was cleared after stewards discovered that his dashboard display was only showing that he had low fuel. This secured Rosberg four points, putting him in seventh place in the Drivers Championship with 34.5 points and Williams sixth in the constructors. Rosberg scored every point for the Williams team during the 2009 season.
On 29 October 2009 Rosberg announced he was leaving the Williams team at the end of the season. He commented that Williams "have really supported my career over the years and I'd like to say a big thank you to them. However, I'm not sure they can win races at the moment and I would like to". On 16 November 2009, Brawn GP was bought by Mercedes and re-branded as Mercedes GP for the 2010 Formula One season. On 23 November 2009, Rosberg was announced as the team's first driver. On 23 December 2009, Michael Schumacher was announced as Rosberg's team-mate, and was given Rosberg's car number (3) because of superstitious reasons. Despite much hype concerning Schumacher's comeback, Rosberg managed to successfully out-qualify and out-race his team mate at most races. In Malaysia, Rosberg achieved his first front row grid start, having qualified second in a qualifying session disrupted by rain; again out-qualifying Schumacher. He eventually finished third in the race; Mercedes's first podium as a works team since their comeback. His third place at the Chinese Grand Prix provided Rosberg with his second podium in succession, and he momentarily moved into second place in the drivers' standings.
He finished seventh at Monaco, fifth in Turkey and sixth in Canada, but only tenth in the European Grand Prix. However, in the British Grand Prix, Rosberg managed a podium finish in third place by holding off Alonso and then Button. But at the German Grand Prix, Mercedes were once again off the pace, and Rosberg could only finish eighth, ahead of teammate Schumacher. Hungary looked more promising, but he lost a wheel while exiting his pit stop and was forced to retire from a point-scoring position. His race at Spa was more successful, and a race-long duel with Schumacher left Rosberg narrowly ahead of his team mate in sixth. The Italian Grand Prix yielded another consistent finish in fifth, achieved mainly by passing both Red Bulls at the start, and took another fifth-place finish in Singapore.
However, he was hit by bad luck in Japan, when under pressure from Schumacher, a wheel detached itself from his car and put Rosberg into the wall. At the inaugural Korean Grand Prix he was even more unfortunate, when while running a strong fourth, he retired from the race after being collected by Mark Webber. Webber had spun into the wall and momentum took him back onto the racing line and left Rosberg with nowhere to go and the two collided. The race at Interlagos was more positive, with Rosberg finishing sixth, despite three pit stops, two of which were taken under safety car conditions which minimised a loss of track position. The following week in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg again pitted under the safety car and this allowed him to finish fourth, a result that secured him seventh in the Drivers' Championship. Rosberg finished 16 of the season's 19 races, of which 15 were points-scoring finishes.
The new Mercedes MGP W02 proved to be very fast in winter testing. In Australia, Rosberg showed his speed until retiring due to a collision with Barrichello. In Malaysia, Rosberg started ninth and finished twelfth, meaning that for the first time in his career he failed to score a single point in the opening two races of a season. Rosberg took his first points finish of the season in China, having qualified fourth and finishing fifth, as well as leading fourteen laps during the race. During the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Rosberg overtook Sebastian Vettel during the first lap of the race and led again for three laps in total, but then quickly fell down the field and on lap 42 of 44 allowed his teammate Schumacher to pass him for fifth after the team warned him that he should save fuel.
Rosberg eventually ended the championship in the seventh place for the third time in a row, again above Schumacher in the final standings. However, he had scored no podium finishes during the season, and the gap in terms of points between Rosberg and his teammate decreased from seventy points in 2010 to thirteen in 2011. This was partly because the Mercedes MGP W02 generally had nobody to compete with, with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari having superior cars and other teams being more slow-paced than MGP W02. Rosberg himself pointed to the fact that due to the new Pirelli tyres and the Drag Reduction System, introduced in 2011, overtaking had become more possible and qualifying – where he still had beaten Schumacher 16:3 – had lost its importance. Despite that, he praised DRS, stating that it could turn out to be one of the best rules in Formula One history.
Rosberg finished outside the points in the first two races of the season in Australia and Malaysia, finishing twelfth and thirteenth respectively. At the Chinese Grand Prix, Rosberg gained the first pole position of his career, beating Lewis Hamilton's qualifying time by over half a second. Rosberg took advantage of his grid position to storm to his maiden victory finishing over twenty seconds ahead of second-placed Jenson Button who fell back after a pit-stop error. In this way Rosberg took his first points of the season and Mercedes's first win since Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, prior to their withdrawal from the sport. In addition to that, Rosberg became the first German driver to win a Grand Prix driving a German car since Hermann Lang´s victory at the 1939 Swiss Grand Prix and the first driver to win a Grand Prix during the life of their father who also achieved a Grand Prix victory in Formula One. Subsequently, Rosberg finished 2nd in Monaco but he was mostly slower than Schumacher in qualifying, slipping to ninth in the standings.
Rosberg remained at Mercedes for the 2013 season where he was partnered with Lewis Hamilton after Hamilton signed a three-year contract with the team. Rosberg retired from the Australian Grand Prix with an electrical problem, and he finished fourth at the Malaysian Grand Prix. after being ordered by the team not to overtake Hamilton. During the Monaco Grand Prix, he had pole position, led every lap and won the race, especially notable given that he considers Monaco his home and that his father Keke Rosberg won the same race exactly thirty years earlier. On 30 June, Rosberg claimed his second win of the season and third of his career at the British Grand Prix. He benefited from a puncture suffered by his team-mate Hamilton and a technical failure for Vettel. Rosberg came back to being 2nd best to Vettel after the summer break qualifying 2nd, only 0.010 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel. Three races later he started and finished 2nd in India, and in Abu Dhabi he finished third. Rosberg again qualified an impressive 2nd at the wet Brazil after finishing first in the practice sessions. He even took the lead but had to settle for 5th, finishing the season in sixth place in the championship with 171 points compared to team-mate Hamilton's 189.
In the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Rosberg, having started from third, won the race by over 20 seconds; his father Keke had won the first Formula One Australian Grand Prix in 1985 in Adelaide. Daniel Ricciardo finished the race second, but was later disqualified for a fuel infringement, promoting Kevin Magnussen to second and his team mate Jenson Button to third. In Malaysia he finished 2nd, 17 seconds behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton, but in front of Sebastian Vettel to give Mercedes-Benz their first 1–2 since Italy in 1955. In Bahrain Rosberg took pole position but lost out to Hamilton at the start of the race, and eventually finished second to his team-mate, despite putting him under pressure numerous times. Rosberg said the race was "a day for the sport" considering the criticism that Formula One has had in 2014. In China he started fourth but fell back to sixth in the opening lap, however fought to finish second ahead of Fernando Alonso.
As the season moved to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix, Rosberg was pipped to pole by Hamilton. Rosberg stayed with Hamilton for the whole race but could not get through, finishing 0.6 seconds behind him meaning Hamilton took the championship lead for the first time in 2014. In Monaco Rosberg took pole position, but a controversial one where he was investigated by the stewards after a suspected offence for causing a yellow flag incident. Hamilton believed Rosberg had made the mistake deliberately to secure pole but the stewards saw it as an accidental incident. Rosberg's lead extended by 18 points in Canada after he and Hamilton had MGU-K and brake issues, but forced Hamilton to retire and not Rosberg, finishing second.
In Austria he won ahead of his teammate, and then took pole position at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, leading until lap 28 where his gearbox failed. At the next round in Germany, Rosberg took the 9th pole position of his career, where Hamilton suffered a brake failure in qualifying, and was forced to start from 20th. Rosberg then went on to take a comfortable victory by 20 seconds from Valtteri Bottas, increasing his lead over Hamilton to 14 points. Rosberg's victory was the first German Grand Prix win for a German driver at the wheel of a German car since Rudolf Caracciola – also for Mercedes – in 1939. In Hungary, Rosberg took pole position again and led the early stages of the race before a safety car period. For the majority of the race, Rosberg was unable to pass the cars of Jean-Eric Vergne and team-mate Hamilton; he ultimately finished fourth, behind Ricciardo, Alonso and Hamilton. In Belgium he collided with his teammate, putting Hamilton out of the race, while Rosberg finished second.
At Monza he overtook Hamilton for the lead, but locked up under braking for the first chicane on lap 29, and was forced down the escape road. Hamilton overtook Rosberg as he was doing so, and went on to take the race win. The next round in Singapore resulted in Rosberg retiring from the race, after an electrical failure. In Japan, Rosberg achieved pole position from Hamilton, but lost out to him in the race, held in wet conditions. From the United States Grand Prix onwards, he took three consecutive pole positions to the end of the season, winning for the fifth time in Brazil compared to Hamilton's ten. In the last race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Rosberg still had a fighting chance to win the championship title. Later in the race he suffered from technical difficulties with his car losing the ERS. Ultimately he finished 14th and lost the title to Hamilton, saying: "Lewis did a better job than me". He finished the season with career bests in wins (5), podiums (15), pole positions (11) and fastest laps, with 5.
Rosberg's 2015 season began with second place behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in Australia and third in Malaysia behind Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari, and Hamilton. Rosberg was second in China and third in Bahrain after a brake failure. He recorded his first pole position of the season in Spain and followed that with his first win of the season, his first in Spain and ninth career win. He achieved his tenth career win at Monaco to become the fourth driver to win the Monaco GP three times in succession (alongside Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost). It was also the first time he won successive F1 races. He followed this up with second place in Canada before taking his third victory of the season, and eleventh of his career, in Austria. At the British Grand Prix, he once again qualified and finished second behind team mate Lewis Hamilton. In Hungary he ran as high as second before colliding with Daniel Ricciardo, and eventually finishing in 8th place. Rosberg's championship hopes started to disappear at Monza when he retired because of his engine and later in Russia after stating on pole position where he had braking issues. Rosberg took his 4th pole position and third consecutive this season in America. Although he lost out at the start he fought back form fifth to first, overtaking Kvyat, Riccardo and Hamilton and controlled the race after the safety cars until an error with ten laps to go, giving Hamilton the win and therefore the championship. For much of the Grand Prix, Rosberg was driving "like a champion", as BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard put it at the time. Following the race, Rosberg created minor controversy on social media when he threw back a cap Hamilton had thrown to him. He responded to his defeat in the US with a dominant victory in the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix for his 12th career win in the first Grand Prix in Mexico in 23 years and then his 13th career victory in the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix, which helped him to secure second place in the championship. He finished the season with a win over Hamilton at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leveling his career wins with Graham Hill.
For the 2014 season, a new rule allowed the driver to pick a unique car number to use throughout their entire F1 career. Rosberg picked number 6 and later tweeted "Cool. Got number 6 for my remaining F1 career! My future wife's and my dad's lucky number. So it has got to work for me too!". He also changed the colour of his helmet after 8 years from yellow to dark grey. The overall design included chrome, some Buddhist influence, clean lines and personal symbols, designed by Jens Munser.Youngest driver to set the fastest lap: 20 years, 258 days in 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in 2011
2014 FIA Pole Position Trophy
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
† Driver failed to finish the race, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.
‡ Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance completed.