HOCKENHEIM: After declaring himself “100 percent German” heading into his home German Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg was happy to be called half-Finnish yesterday.
The son of Finland’s 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg took pole position at Hockenheim with Finland’s Valtteri Bottas alongside for Williams.
It was, declared veteran Finnish reporter Heikki Kulta, the first time two Finnish drivers had qualified together on the front row in Formula One.
Asked whether he agreed, Rosberg smiled at the journalistic spin and replied: “Yes, I agree.”
When the reporter returned to the theme later, the German clarified his position — while happy to go along with the spirit.
“You’re going for it today,” grinned the 29-year-old, who has been celebrating Germany’s World Cup soccer win all week. “For you, I am half Finnish. But just for you. And for the fans in Finland.
“And it’s one and a half Finns on the front row. Which is also a record. So it’s a historic day. And I hope the Finns can be really proud.”
Rosberg, who was born in Wiesbaden to a German mother but grew up in Monaco, made his original comment about being 100 percent German after British team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton jokingly suggested Hockenheim was not a home race.
Finland has had three F1 world champions — Rosberg senior, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen. Double world champion Hakkinen retired in 2001, before 2007 champion Raikkonen had made his first front row appearance as his McLaren replacement. REUTERS