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Points and fastest lap for rookie Rosberg 12 Mar 2006

Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 12 March 2006

It was the sort of Formula One debut that every driver dreams of. Not only did Nico Rosberg score points in his first ever Grand Prix - driving his Williams to a well-deserved seventh place finish - but did so with one of the most convincing maiden drives in recent memory, including setting the fastest lap of the race.

After qualifying in 12th position, Rosberg’s race got off to a disastrous start when he collided with team mate Mark Webber in the first turn and losing his front wing. By the time he re-emerged from the pitlane he was running in last place and his race looked to be effectively over.

But the young German was determined to prove himself, and began an inexorable rise through the order, gaining places both through pitstop attrition and a number of committed wheel-to-wheel overtaking moves. In the closing stages of the race he passed David Coulthard to move into eighth.

But Rosberg wasn’t happy to settle for just a single point, closing on the pacey Christian Klien in the second Red Bull. After a nail-biting side-by-side dice into turn one, during which Klien forced his opponent to go far onto the dusty inside of the track, Rosberg prevailed and he took the position, finishing the race just 21 seconds behind team mate Webber, despite his extra pit stop. He also set the fastest lap of the race.

The result helps to prove both Rosberg’s undoubted talents as a driver - but also showed that the Cosworth-powered Williams has the pace necessary to compete at the sharp end of the grid. It will be interesting to see how things develop as the season progresses.