The venue for this weekend’s Grand Prix is universally liked by both drivers and fans. Regarded by many as one of the best circuits in the world, Suzuka is considered to be one of the “old school” tracks, along with the likes of Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Spa, and Interlagos. You get it wrong here, and there is no margin for error, unlike many of the newer circuits the sport visits.
Over the years this famous track has seen many incredible moments. In this feature, theCheckeredflag.co.uk takes a look back at ten of the most memorable.
10. Kobayashi delights crowd with first ever podium – 2012
We start this countdown with last year’s race. Of course, you could say that the big moment from twelve months ago was Fernando Alonso’s misjudged move across on Kimi Raikkonen, that eliminated him from the race at the first corner. Was it the error that cost him the title last year? Quite possibly.
Away from that though, and the race will always be remembered for Kamui Kobayashi taking his first ever podium. He’d been having a strong weekend, and had lined up on the grid in third place. Due to Alonso’s demise and similar problems for both Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, and the Sauber driver looked a genuine contender for a podium finish. Sebastian Vettel was streaking away into the distance, with Felipe Massa in second, but everyone’s attention was on third place.
Kobayashi survived late race pressure from Jenson Button to take a memorable third place, with the crowd chanting his name in delight as he was handed the trophy. It is rare for a driver to be universally liked, but that day, few would begrudge Kamui’s podium appearance. Given the popular Japanese driver is no longer in Formula One, it just adds to the moment.
Photo Credit: Sauber