The United States Grand Prix delivered a cracker of a race but, to be honest, there were other very good races this past season, Baku would be an obvious candidate with Interlagos and Silverstone up there with maybe Germany.
However the fact that Kimi Raikkonen returned to the top step of the podium, ending the sport’s longest winning drought – 2044 days between wins! – made the race in Austin extra special, and the manner in which he won it was memorable too.
Prior to victory in Texas, The Iceman had last won a grand prix when he triumphed in Australia back in 2013. Since then he has played second fiddle to Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, but things changed in the latter half of the season when he knew his time was up with the Scuderia.
The race at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, 21 October had just about everything a fan could wish for in terms of action and drama, with Kimi getting a great start to take the lead into Turn 1 from third on the grid.
Thereafter we were treated to a tense race with the Finn and Lewis Hamilton slugging it out at the front, the Ferrari driver’s defence when under attack from the Merc was of the highest order.
For me, the United States Grand Prix produced the Race of the Year and, to boot, I can’t think of a more popular win in the top flight since he won for Lotus, after his comeback, in Abu Dhabi in 2012.
On another note perhaps related note, I found it fascinating how Kimi transformed from that weekend at Monza, when he was told by his boss he was surplus to requirements at Maranello, youngster Charles Leclerc was stepping up to replace him.
From that point on the veteran was far more relaxed, more chilled and his form on track also improved. No longer obliged to help his title-challenging teammate, he stepped out of Vettel’s shadow who never won a race from Monza until the end of the season…
Thus the victory in Austin was the cherry on the cake for Ferrari’s last World Champion who moves to Sauber for a two-year swansong in the top flight. Only Michael Schumacher made more grand prix starts for the Reds than Kimi, who raced 151 times for them.
I know I am rambling on about Kimi, but it has been good to see the real guy back again, that afternoon at COTA probably helped trigger the transformation in him and thus another reason for it to be the standout race of last year.
The United States Grand Prix Race Report is here: