Nico Rosberg has put his success into perspective after sealing his place as runner-up in this year’s Formula One world championship by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix.
He won Sunday’s race, which was preceded by a ceremonial act of respect in memory of the victims of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, ahead of his Mercedes team-mate newly-crowned three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
But he tempered his celebrations in the land of the samba and his first thoughts, when summarising his feelings on the winners’ podium, were of events in the French capital that left 132 dead.
“It was a great weekend for me here, of course, but everything is relative because of what happened in Paris,” said Rosberg, after his fifth win of 2015 and the 13th of his career.
It was also the 30-year-old German’s second consecutive Latin American triumph after winning in Mexico last time, which in turn followed his unforced error at the United States Grand Prix that gifted Hamilton victory and his third title in Texas.
Starting from his fifth consecutive pole position, Rosberg made a flawless start and controlled the race from the front, relinquishing the lead only when he pitted three times, while Hamilton chased and challenged in vain.
“It was a good challenge from Lewis, but I was able to control the pace,” Rosberg said.
“We saw Lewis dropping off a lot with degradation and that confirmed it was important to take care of the tyres.”
The 30-year-old Englishman finished second ahead of third-placed four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
“I had the pace, but you just can’t overtake here,” said Hamilton, who has failed to win in Brazil in nine attempts.
“I killed my tyres and it is a shame because it is such a great track, but you can’t get close enough to put on a great race, so it was a bit boring.”
Kimi Raikkonen came home fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Nico Hulkenberg of Force India, Danil Kvyat of Red Bull and local hero Felipe Massa in the second Williams.
Romain Grosjean finished ninth for Lotus ahead of Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, who maintained his stunning maiden season form by finishing 10th for Toro Rosso.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, for Redbull, was 11th.