Kimi Raikkonen grabbed Formula One world title glory in dramatic fashion as a malfunctioning McLaren robbed Lewis Hamilton of a place in the history books on this day 14 years ago.
In one of the closest finishes ever, Raikkonen’s victory at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix enabled the Ferrari driver to finish one point ahead of both Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso in the driver standings.
Alonso could only finish third, while Hamilton had to settle for seventh after a gearbox glitch on lap eight relegated him from sixth to 18th at the time.
Doubt was later cast over Raikkonen’s title triumph as race stewards investigated BMW Sauber and Williams for a breach of technical regulations regarding fuel temperatures.
However, after a three-hour hearing, the stewards chose to impose no penalty on either team, ensuring Raikkonen could celebrate the first F1 title of his career.
Under the regulations, no fuel on board the car may be more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature, and in initial findings there was a clear discrepancy.
If Williams and BMW Sauber had been found guilty, Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld – who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively – could have been stripped of their points.
That would have promoted Hamilton to fourth, and would have given the 22-year-old the crown in his rookie year, but the race result stood.
“I want to thank the team for everything they have done this year.
“Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced its reward.
“I have achieved what I have been after for a long time. Now everything else will be an extra.”