Abu Dhabi: Damon Hill says it will be “a big deal” for Nico Rosberg if he becomes the second Formula One driver after him to emulate his father’s feats in winning the world title on Sunday.
Hill ruled the world in 1996 after his late father, Graham, was twice a world champion in 1962 and 1968.
Rosberg, who is 12 points ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton heading into Sunday’s Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is on the verge of doing likewise. The German’s father, Keke, claimed the world title with Williams in 1982.
“I think it’s a big deal for someone who’s gone into the same profession as their parents,” said Hill, in an exclusive interview with Gulf News at Yas Marina Circuit. “If your parent has achieved the very highest thing, there’s always that measurement there. You can’t avoid it and you’re going to be compared if you like it or not. Did you achieve the top?
“So he’s got a great chance of getting this done and equalling his dad in his career and being able to hold his head up. That would be a nice thing for the Rosbergs.”
Does he see any similarities between the two?
“They have very different styles and different personalities, it’s fair to say,” replied the 56-year-old, who is here as a pundit for Sky Sports Television.
“Nico has got his own way of going about it. He’s done it very well and worked very hard.”
Hill was involved in a world title decider of his own when, in 1994, Michael Schumacher deprived him of glory by a single point after the pair controversially collided at the final round in Adelaide.
How does he think Rosberg and Hamilton will be feeling ahead of their ‘Duel in the Desert’?
“Lewis is in some ways off the hook from the tension it all,” said Hill. “He can’t really do any more than he’s done. He can put on a good show.
“Whatever he’s done is out of his hands. The pressure is pretty much on Nico and Mercedes, who have to deliver a good and reliable car. There might be some spoilers in there, such as Red Bull.”
Hamilton, a three-time world champion while Rosberg is chasing his maiden title, is widely regarded to be the better driver of the two.
So would a Rosberg victory be deserved?
“The sport works on points and results,” Hill said. “You can’t deprive someone of the result just because you might feel one driver is better than the other. The game is getting the points.
“He [Rosberg] is still one of the world’s best racing drivers and that can never be taken away.”