5 best achievements of Keke Rosberg's F1 career

Keke Rosberg
Keke Rosberg

F1 drivers aren't respected merely for excelling in what is the world's most expensive sport, one that also constantly flirts with mortal danger. F1 drivers are respected for possessing a sense of keenness to excel in a format where just about anything can go wrong, the sport embedded in a template of uncertainty.

And in that regard, it may not be untrue to remark that it is for their ability to mix speed with danger, keeping their craft exceedingly high at all times is why Formula 1 drivers are so admired.

Over the course of the several past decades, we've seen everyone for Fangio to Schumacher, Senna to Hamilton arrest the fans with regards to their ability to go all out, to push the limits of the canvass in their bid to win. Yet, there's something more than just winning that keeps us fans on our feet when it comes to admiring racing drivers- isn't it?

We remember Schumacher for his fantastic achievements that ultimately lifted the bar of the competition. We regard Prost and Senna for their individual brilliance, and for raising the nature of the sport from the perspective of intense rivalry. Hunt is remembered for his daredevilry.

So, it might be asked, on the same lines, what is about Keke Rosberg that draws the fan?

A common saying about Finnish drivers goes as follows: There are drivers and then there are Finnish racing drivers. Keke Rosberg is still respected for catapulting Finland to the attention of the world for excelling in the theatre of Grand Prix racing.

He was the original 'Flying Finn,' someone who wasn't bothered by the competition he was up against, someone who always tried to raise the bar of a contest.

The 1982 World Champion is regarded for being a stylish racing driver, who was as quick inside a Grand Prix car as he was in his ability to generate the attention from F1 fans, who admired him for his charm and racing talent.

As the famous Rosberg, dad to the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg turns 70, we rewind back to some of Keke's top F1 moments.

Maiden podium in 1980

Modern racing fans might actually find it hard to fathom that Argentina too was once a part of the F1 roster.

Back in the 1980 Formula season, Keke, Sweden-born Finnish racing driver secured his maiden F1 podium at Argentina. In the Argentine Grand Prix, held at the Autodromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Keke grabbed a P3.

This was a fighting effort in his (Emmerson) Fittipaldi Ford, a feat for which he had to compete with some of the biggest names in F1: Alan Jones and Nelson Piquet.

What's most interesting is the fact that during the qualifying run of the Argentine Grand Prix, neither of the Ford drivers- Keke and his teammate, Fittipaldi- were able to park their cars inside top ten. Rosberg had managed only a lowly P13.

In the Grand Prix, however, he managed to produce a stable, watchful drive, especially on a track labelled 'threatening' according to a few participants- especially in the challenging corners- who even considered boycotting the race.

A fine record at Detroit Grand Prix- 1983 and 1985

Keke Rosberg
Keke Rosberg

Throughout his entire career, Keke was able to grab no fewer than 17 podiums. To be honest, for drivers in those decades- the seventies and eighties- it wasn't such a bad result.

There weren't, after all, as many as 21 races on the calendar.

Yet, for Keke, for whom, winning was everything, tracks like Detroit produced important turnarounds; these were surfaces that extracted something special from his craft.

In both Grands Prix of 1983 and 1985- did Keke land up on the podium.

In fact, of his 17 podiums, Keke grabbed a podium on two separate occasions at Detroit, in the United States.

His first podium manifested in the way of a fighting P2 at the street circuit run of 1983. However, during the qualifying, Keke was only to grab a P11 right at the start in his Williams- Ford, not necessarily the strongest force in action when compared to the Ferraris, Brabhams, Lotuses. The real battle for Keke at the 1983 race in Detroit began from Lap 20 when he found himself close enough to battle, and then, pass the Brabham of Nelson Piquet, one of his oldest rivals as also among the finest competitors.

By Lap 29, race-leader Arnoux, barely in the lead, found himself being pursued by Keke's Williams. But a string of retirements, some luck and constant pursuit of the podium ahead kept Keke interested and in the end, he was able to land himself once again among the top three at Detroit.

The win at 1985 Australian GP

Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix

One of the finest wins of Keke's career came at the year of his son's birth: 1985. It was the Australian GP of 1985 where Keke's remarkable charge to the front of the grid would fashion a memorable triumph amid stunned and wide-eyed Aussie fans.

Never before the 1985 event at Australia did Keke ever find himself on the podium Down Under. But the 1985 win, resulting out of sheer grit shown amid outstanding drivers such as Senna, Mansell, Prost and others catapulted Keke as a hero.

While Rosberg managed to start the 1985 race at Adelaide from a respectable third, he would be on the offensive right from the start in his Williams-Honda. He would beat the likes of more powerful cars including the Renault of Senna and the McLaren of Prost. Finishing the race as one of only the eight cars to be qualified, Keke, a frontrunner from the initial stages would actually grab the final win of his career in the form of his 1985 triumph.

Rosberg at Monaco: a charming story

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice
F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice

Not once but twice in his career did Keke Rosberg land on the podium at a track which is, well, for the lack of a better word, a second home to one of F1's most familiar faces, Keke's own son, Nico.

The first time that Keke would find himself sipping the champagne at Monaco would be courtesy his stellar effort in 1983 that yielded an incredible win.

Having started the race from fifth on the grid, Rosberg was quickly able to jump ahead, aiming for the track position, despite knowing that the ferocity of Prost in his Renault and Nelson Piquet in his Brabham-BMW.

Going out for a wheel-to-wheel with Piquet and making some magical moves in the famous principality, a track where three decades later, his son, Nico would win, would mark Keke's most famous Monaco moment.

He would return to Monaco, three years later, in 1986 to storm to a famous P2, a feat labelled even more impressive than his win here for it came with the driver having begun from ninth.

Winning the World Championship

Grand Prix of Europe, Keke in action!
Grand Prix of Europe, Keke in action!

Winning an F1 world championship is every driver's dream. Just that now, as one looks back in time, Keke's epic moment, that arrived in 1982, feels like such a long time ago.

Moreover, that the handsome moustached driver became a recluse shortly after hanging his racing boots only adds a twinge of nostalgia and a somewhat sedate charm to that epic winning moment.

In 1982, Keke Rosberg, driving a Williams, put himself on top at the Swiss Grand Prix, perhaps another racing event that needs to return to the roster.

In that year alone, Rosberg, despite only winning a solitary Grand Prix, was able to secure impressive podiums at USA, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria and along with one pole position at Brands Hatch, was able to claw at his fiercest rivals (that year) including the likes of John Watson, Pironi, Niki Lauda, and Alain Prost.

For a driver who was admirably cool under pressure and never seemed to get carried away whether, by victory or defeat, it has to be said, despite his famous races at Detroit or Monaco, the entirety of 1982 season was Keke's finest hour in the annals of F1.

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