With more than a hint of reverence, Nico Rosberg reaches out to touch his championship-winning W07 Hybrid affectionately on the nose, then turns to regard the grand sweep that is the cavernous concrete inner sanctum of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Here, like pinned butterflies in a natural-history exhibit, but on a grander scale, the racing cars attached to the banked wall bear silent testament to an evolutionary line - in this case, one that stretches from chain-driven pre-war leviathans such as the 1909 Blitzen Benz to the latest hybrid Formula 1 machinery.
A large red crane stands ready to hoist Nico's title-winner onto its final resting place - but not before its operators have posed for a selfie with both him and it. He obliges with the same easy charm that defused many a sticky moment during his driving career, as last year when he led a potentially hostile Monza crowd in an impromptu sing-along - in Italian - having led a Mercedes one-two that pegged their beloved Ferraris into third and fourth places.
He quit motor racing, seemingly without a backward glance, announcing his immediate retirement on the eve of collecting his championship trophy at the FIA awards. "For 25 years my dream was very clear," he said. "It was to win the world championship.