F1 archives: When Raikkonen Delivered Magic in Suzuka

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Raikkonen

Suzuka 2005.  Something that’s synonymous with ‘Kimi Magic‘. Till today, 2005 Japanese Grand Prix marks one of the finest drives from the Finn. Driving for McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen started the race at 17th position owing to an engine change. The season had been a good one for him with five race victories and second position in the Championship Standings. Starting from way down the pack, it was almost certain that Kimi was out of contention for a good finish. Little did anyone know what the Ice Man was capable of.

The Race

By the first lap, Raikkonen was in 12th place and catching up to everyone. After the first pit stop Kimi was stuck behind Mark Webber. Meanwhile, Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella had a comfortable lead of over 20s. Soon Webber pitted, giving Kimi a clean air, who then set the fastest lap and was closing in on the leader Fisichella, closing down his lead to a mere 5s.

Fisichella had a Minardi backmarker up on his front which slowed him down a bit leading to a poor exit of the chicane. Opportunist Raikkonen quickly stepped up closing up on him instantly after that. With just two laps to go, it was certain that Formula One might see one of the finest last lap battles.

Raikkonen was just on the back of Fisichella waiting for the perfect moment to overtake him. Fisichella showcased his finest defensive skills but it wasn’t enough. On the pit straight of the last lap, Kimi Raikkonen displayed one of his boldest moves ever, overtaking Fisichella on the outside, taking the lead and with that the race!

“It was my best I think,” said the Finn.

“I had to fight for it all the time and after the problems of the weekend it was a great result.”

The podium (L to R): Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault, second; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren, race winner; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault, third. Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, 9 October 2005. BEST IMAGE
Kimi Raikkonen celebrating atop the podium with Fisichella and Alonso Courtesy:espn

The brave Ice Man won a lot of hearts that day.

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