Rosberg secured three podiums in 2011
Nico Rosberg has won the 2011 Lorenzo Bandini Trophy following his impressive debut season with the Mercedes team last year.
The annual award is given to drivers by the village of Brisighella near Bologna, in memory of their local driver Bandini, who was killed at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.
Rosberg becomes the 18th recipient of the prestigious award since its inauguration in 1992. It is awarded to any outstanding individual from the world of motor racing.
Previous winners include Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Jacques Villeneuve, Luca di Montezemelo, Robert Kubica and current team-mate Michael Schumacher.
“It’s a great honour to be awarded the Bandini Trophy,” Rosberg told his official website. “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.”
In addition to the evening ceremony, the winner wins the chance to drive the 12km route between Faenza and Brisighella, on public streets.
Whilst previous winners have often used F1 machinery, Rosberg chose to use an AMG Mercedes C-Class DTM car.
I had great fun driving the DTM car on the open roads,” said Rosberg.
“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 motorsport,” he said.
Rosberg claimed three podiums in 2010 and nearly scored twice as many points as his seven-time world champion team-mate.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Canadian Grand prix, the German was upbeat.
“Our race performance in Monaco was not good. But hopefully we can qualify strongly again in Montreal, and also deliver in race condition this weekend,” he said.