Nico Rosberg finally won his first Grand Prix a few weeks ago in China, and it only took him 111 attempts… His father Keke Rosberg made things happen a bit quicker. In 114 starts he notched up five Grand Prix wins and a Formula 1 championship.
In fact, the original Flying Finn (if we overlook the rally aces who genuinely earned this well-worn nickname) won the race on his second ever dab with an F1 car competitively, in soaking rain and while embarrassing established Grand Prix stars around Silverstone. Too bad the event didn't count, as it was a non-championship British Racing Drivers' Club International Trophy race.
Some monumentally rubbish cars and truly awful luck stopped him from garnering any success as he wrestled in his flat-out style behind the wheels of such garbage as Theodore, ATS, and Fittipaldi cars.
Keke was never far from a ciggie, and his cowboy hat and moustache were enough to make Bo ‘Bandit' Darville jealous. He lived as hard as he drove, always on the limit of adhesion and always as arrogant as they come. And that's why everybody loved him, for his no-nonsense attitude.
His gung-ho talent captured the attention of the Williams team, and despite managing to win just one race that entire season in 1982 — the Swiss Grand Prix which was actually held in France at Dijon-Prenois (motorsport is banned in Switzerland) — he won the championship. The task is even more impressive when you consider that his Williams was on the ragged edge most of the time, with Keke trying desperately to hold the turbocharged monsters behind his underpowered, naturally aspirated Cosworth DFV V8. Neither the force-fed Ferraris, the insanely powerful BMW Brabhams, nor Alain Prost in his powerful but temperamental turbocharged Renault could do anything with Keke's points haul. No driver won more than once that entire season in fact, and 11 in total took the top step of the podium, but the Flying Finn flew highest of all, memorably claiming that he drove flat-out for every lap of every race.
Maybe Keke's name comes up too seldom in the record books, because his style, reminiscent of Gilles Villeneuve and forever sideways, might have robbed him of consistency and intelligent racing-for-points. But shaving tenths, cutting corners, flying over kerbs and mowing the lawn with the tail way out, was what he lived for. Well, that, and the post-race ciggie.