“Once when we were driving home from a race, my father said to me: ‘Nico, if you want to leave a great legacy in motor racing, there are two things you need to achieve: winning the Monaco Grand Prix, and becoming world champion.’”
I started karting at the age of four. It was a two-seater, so my dad would be on the throttle and break, and I would steer. My father was a big inspiration because I grew up watching him race. It was so powerful: the cars, the atmosphere, the adrenaline, the fans cheering, the battles, the technology, the winning…
Once when we were driving home from a race, my father said to me: “Nico, if you want to leave a great legacy in motor racing, there are two things you need to achieve: winning the Monaco Grand Prix, and becoming world champion.”
Being the son of a Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion did make it easier in some ways, but at the same time it was also more difficult because there was so much attention on me as a young kid. I never necessarily thought that I was born to race because I never had huge self-confidence, but in hindsight that was good. It kept me motivated and dedicated to being the best that I can be.
In 2013, we had a great year as a team: I started to have some pole positions, we had some podiums, but still, coming to Monaco, we didn’t really think it was possible to win. Nevertheless I was absolutely on fire.
Crossing the line to win the Monaco Grand Prix that year was one of the most powerful emotional experiences I will ever have in my life. I remember just shouting so loud in my helmet, I was going absolutely nuts in the car, getting on the radio to the team screaming, “We did it!” All this coming together and being able to share it with my friends and family who were there watching just made it so much more important. I won the Monaco Grand Prix exactly 30 years after my father won it and I’m so proud of what my dad has achieved.
I actually bought this watch on the Monday after that race. In May 2013, I had decided to buy my wife her wedding gift, and it was going to be a rose gold Daytona. But the build-up to the Monaco Grand Prix was so intense that I decided to do it after the race… Little did I know I would actually win. So, in a quiet moment the next day, I ran out of the house and went to the Rolex boutique.
I went to my wife’s watch and then looked to the right and saw the green Submariner, a watch I had always admired. I looked again and decided in that moment, “Nico, you just achieved one of your biggest dreams, to win the Monaco race. It’s time to reward yourself with an amazing gift.” So I bought both watches.
I’m a very conservative person, so this was really a rare occasion and possibly the only watch that I ever bought for myself. It was really a unique moment for me. This watch stands for the great period I had at the Monaco Grand Prix. This was the kick-off, the first win of three, which for me is one of the greatest achievements in my whole career and really such a big part of my Formula 1® legacy.