Before they were Ferrari teammates and now part of Formula One’s “old guard” in 2014, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were 21 and 23-year-old “new kids on the block” in the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Alonso was in only his second Grand Prix for Renault, after his rookie season at Minardi in 2001 and then sitting out a season to work as Renault’s test driver. But he put together a blinding lap to score his first career pole on Saturday.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, was in his second season at McLaren-Mercedes, and though he’d shown flashes of brilliance he’d not yet been able to secure a victory.
Raikkonen emerged ahead of Alonso after the first pit stop sequence and Rubens Barrichello, then-Ferrari number two, got ahead at the second sequence.
When all was said and done Raikkonen had captured his first career victory, with Alonso also standing on the podium for the first time.
These two and Jenson Button are the only three drivers from that Grand Prix still on the grid in 2014.
The race also marked a first for NBC Sports Group’s F1 lead announcer Leigh Diffey, as it was his first Grand Prix he commentated on in the U.S., substituting for Rick DeBruhl on the old SPEED Channel.
Diffey, who missed calling the 2013 Malaysian GP as it conflicted with the IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg, will be back on the mic for this year’s race. Coverage times on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will be confirmed later this week.