user icon

Malaysia 2003: Remembering Kimi Raikkonen's first grand prix victory

  • Published on 23 Mar 2020 10:36
  • comments 1
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Today marks 17 years to the day that Kimi Raikkonen stepped onto the Formula 1 podium for the first time in his career, triumphing at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen's career in F1 was still in the very early stages, and it would progress to be one of the longest stints in the sport that anyone had ever seen.

However, his first F1 victory came in just his third full season in the sport, and the one that many believe to be one of his strongest - despite it not being his championship success season.

Heading into the round in Malaysia, which was the second event of the 2003 season, Raikkonen was third in the drivers' championship after picking up a third-place finish at the season-opener in Melbourne.

Fernando Alonso picked up his first career pole position in what was just his second race entry with Renault. It was an all-Renault front row as Jarno Trulli lined-up alongside the eventual two-time F1 world champion. 

However, Trulli's time at the front didn't last long, as at just the second corner of the race, he was tagged by the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, sending the Italian to the back of the grid. Schumacher took the blame for the accident and was handed a drive-through penalty for his troubles. Raikkonen, who started from seventh, found himself in fourth at the end of the opening lap. 

However, Raikkonen would soon progress further, making his way onto the podium positions by overtaking Nick Heidfeld at Turn 1 on the second lap of the race.

As Raikkonen set his sights on teammate David Coulthard, he needn't have feared a battle as the Scotsman pulled over to the side of the road at the end of lap two with an electrical issue, sending the then championship leader out of the race.

Alonso continued to lead and pulled out a six-second gap over Raikkonen in the opening three laps. By doing so, Alonso became the youngest driver in F1 history to lead a grand prix, beating a 52-year record held by Jimmy Davies.

Rubens Barrichello would soon move up into third place behind Raikkonen, however the gap was quite a large one. Alonso gave up his lead on lap 14 when he peeled into the pits for a scheduled stop.

Raikkonen, who was initially carrying more fuel than Alonso and therefore a heavier car, now had the lighter machine and began posting fast lap times.

When he pitted five laps after Alonso, he emerged ahead of the Renault driver and was in the net lead, as Barrichello was yet to come into the pit lane.

The Ferrari driver would be serviced a couple of laps after Raikkonen, but did not clear Alonso in the pits and remerged in third place.

However, in the second round of pits stops, Barrichello would take advantage of the later stop and rejoin the circuit in second place ahead of Alonso. Raikkonen stayed out later than any of them, having stretched his lead to a comfortable margin.

After making his final stop, the Finn cruised to victory, crossing the line almost 40 seconds ahead of Barrichello. By doing so, Raikkonen took the lead of the drivers' championship ahead of teammate Coulthard, while eventual champion Michael Schumacher had just six points to his name.

Raikkonen would not win a world championship in his six years with McLaren, finishing second in the standings on tow occasions (2003 and 2005). He won nine races for the Woking-based team before moving to Ferrari in 2007, where he earned the title of world champion.

After a break from the sport, for three seasons, he returned in 2012 with Lotus before enduring a second stint at Ferrari, where in 2018, he took his first race win since 2009.

Replies (1)

Login to reply
  • Dert38

    Posts: 354

    Great days

    • + 0
    • Mar 23 2020 - 21:34

BE Grand Prix of Belgium

Local time 

BE Grand Prix of Belgium

Local time 

Related news

World Championship standings 2021

Show full world champion standings

Test calendar

Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing

See full test schedule

Give your opinion!

Will Bottas challenge Hamilton for the world championship in 2020?

Driver profile

  • Team Alfa Romeo Racing
  • Points 845
  • Podiums 49
  • Grand Prix 241
  • Country FI
  • Date of b. Oct 17 1979 (41)
  • Place of b. Espoo, FI
  • Weight 62 kg
  • Length 1.75 m
Show full profile

Team profile

Show full profile

Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Bahrain
26 - Mar 28
Bahrain
16 - Apr 18
Italy
7 - May 9
Spain
20 - May 23
Monaco
4 - Jun 6
Azerbaijan
18 - Jun 20
France
25 - Jun 27
Austria
2 - Jul 4
Austria
16 - Jul 18
United Kingdom
30 - Aug 1
Hungary
27 - Aug 29
Belgium
3 - Sep 5
Netherlands
10 - Sep 12
Italy
24 - Sep 26
Russian
8 - Oct 10
Japan
8 - Oct 10
Turkey
22 - Oct 24
United States of America
29 - Oct 31
Mexico
5 - Nov 7
Brazil
19 - Nov 21
Australia
3 - Dec 5
Saudi Arabia
10 - Dec 12
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
26 - Mar 28
16 - Apr 18
7 - May 9
20 - May 23
Monaco Monte Carlo
4 - Jun 6
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
18 - Jun 20
France Paul Ricard
25 - Jun 27
Austria Red Bull Ring
2 - Jul 4
Austria Red Bull Ring
16 - Jul 18
United Kingdom Silverstone
30 - Aug 1
Hungary Hungaroring
27 - Aug 29
3 - Sep 5
Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
10 - Sep 12
Italy Monza
24 - Sep 26
Russian Sochi Autodrom
8 - Oct 10
8 - Oct 10
Turkey Istanbul Park
22 - Oct 24
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
29 - Oct 31
5 - Nov 7
Brazil Interlagos
19 - Nov 21
Australia Albert Park
3 - Dec 5
Saudi Arabia Jeddah Street Circuit
10 - Dec 12
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
See full schedule
show sidebar