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.