It’s been two years since Kobayashi’s Suzuka podium with Sauber (VIDEO)

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Oh, how long ago two years can seem.

Yeah, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa went 1-2 in the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix – a race that marked the beginning of the end of Fernando Alonso’s title aspirations that season.

But the star of that year’s race in Suzuka was Kamui Kobayashi, who in one of if not the most brilliant drives of his career held off Jenson Button for the final podium position.

The result marked the second podium finish for a Japanese driver in his home race, as Kobayashi followed the mark set by Aguri Suzuki in 1990.

Kobayashi’s result, two years on, stands out even more given his and Sauber’s respective journeys since.

The result marked Sauber’s last podium finish in F1. Although Nico Hulkenberg brought them the majority of their points in 2013, the 2014 season has been an uphill battle and currently has not seen either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez score points. To be fair, both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez scored points in Suzuka last year, with sixth and seventh place.

Kobayashi, meanwhile, took a one-year detour into the FIA World Endurance Championship with AF Corse in a Ferrari F458 Italia, before returning to F1 this year with Caterham. Kobayashi has had his seat under threat and was pulled out before the Belgian Grand Prix, and hasn’t been able to provide the same level of heroics on-track he achieved with Sauber and Toyota.

But as we head to Suzuka this week, it’s only fitting to look back at the good old days for both parties.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.