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F1 Gold | The time Kimi Raikkonen won the 2005 Suzuka GP from 17th on the grid

2020-03-26 11:30

Charlen Raymond

kimi raikkonen,f1,formula 1,mclaren-mercedes

Kimi Raikkonen (middle) on the podium after winning the 2005 Japanese GP ahead of Renault drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella (left) and Fernando Alonso. Image: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen may not be the Formula 1 driver who once set televisions screens on fire during the early 2000s with his driving skills, but his best moments will always be remembered.

Fair enough, at almost 41-years-old Raikkonen is way past his prime, but he still shows the spark and spunk that's needed to compete at motorsport's highest level.

A reckoned driver

Did you know Raikkonen was a forced to be reckoned with between 2002 and 2007? Especially 2005, when he drove the most memorable race of his career at that year's Japanese Grand Prix.

Having started near the back of the grid in 17th place, Raikkonen pulled out all the stops to drive a scintillating race en route to victory. It was by no means easy, but as the race prolonged, Raikkonen got faster and his McLaren-Mercedes race car played into his hands.

Anyone who watched the race that day witnessed something very special, because on the first corner of the last lap, Raikkonen made a darting move on Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella to pass him for the lead.

Fisichella had no response to Raikkonen's pace, and was a sitting duck as the hot shot driver flew past.

In a nutshell

Raikkonen joined F1 in 2001 as a driver for the Sauber team, but the following year he was drafted to McLaren-Mercedes. Raikkonen’s speed and race craft got him the seat at one of F1’s most sought-after teams. Over the next four seasons, Raikkonen would battle against Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso for championship glory, but poor reliability on his car’s part meant that he could never seal the deal.

In 2007, Raikkonen joined Ferrari. He won the season-opening race in Australia that year, and also went on to clinch the title that year. It would also be the only F1 championship he’d win in his 19-year career. At the end of 2009, Ferrari and Raikkonen parted ways and Alonso joined the team from the 2010 season onwards.

READ: Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerk - more than just humble F1 beginnings?

Raikkonen would take up rallying for a few years, but returned to F1 in 2013 to drive for Lotus-Renault. On his first race for his new team, Raikkonen won the Australian GP – showing that he lost none of his skills after a few years away. In 2014 he rejoined Ferrari to partner Alonso, but failed to capture his glory days.

At 2018’s American GP, Raikkonen took the last victory of his F1 career before moving to Alfa Romeo for 2019 and 2020. 

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