Nico Rosberg yesterday became the 18th recipient of the Trofeo Bandini during a special ceremony in Bandini’s home town of Brisighella, near Bologna, Italy.
“It’s a great honour to be awarded the Bandini Trophy,” said Nico after the event. “It’s not just awarded for achievements on the race track, but also a driver’s mentality and approach to the sport, which gives it extra meaning.”
The trophy is named after Lorenzo Bandini, a grand prix and Le Mans 24 Hours winner in the 1960s, who died following an accident in the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix. The ceremony includes the unique spectacle of a 12 kilometre drive from Faenza to Brisighella, on open roads. Previous winners have made the journey in Formula One cars, but Nico’s ride of choice yesterday was an AMG Mercedes C-Class DTM car.
“It was great fun driving the DTM car on the open roads,” enthused Nico. “There was just one police car in front of me and traffic coming from the other direction, which the police had to clear out of the way. It was an incredible sight – and especially because there were spectators lining the route all the way. The Italian people have an incredible enthusiasm and passion for motor sport.”
The prize giving ceremony followed in the centre of Brisighella, and saw Nico presented with a remarkable trophy. “It’s very, very heavy,” he laughed. “I nearly had to interrupt all the photo calls because I couldn’t hold it any more! But it’s fantastic, like a piece of art.”
With the award safely tucked away on the mantelpiece, Nico’s attention now turns to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. A flight early this week will enable him to get over any jet lag, and ensure he’s in peak condition for the race.
“We’ll be on maximum attack,” he predicted looking ahead to the weekend. “Our performance in the race in Monaco was not good. Hopefully we can qualify strongly again in Montreal, and deliver in race conditions this weekend.”