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Mat Coch writes:
At Suzuka, Kamui Kobayashi became the first Japanese driver to stand on a Formula One podium for almost a decade. He is just the third Japanese driver to achieve such a feat. Alongside him stood two men well used to the experience. While world champion Sebastian Vettel is an old hand at the process, Felipe Massa has heard Hino Nacional Brasileiro eleven times in his honour.
That it was the Japanese Grand Prix must have made it all the more special for Kobayashi. It's an experience only Aguri Suzuki can relate to.
It was Sauber's fourth podium of the year. The team is now a threat to Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship, the small Swiss team just twenty points adrift of the great German marque.
Ferrari is third in the constructors' title race, some sixty points in arrears of Red Bull at the top of the class. Almost three quarters of its points have been amassed by Fernando Alonso. Massa's second place in Suzuka was his greatest single points haul since 2010. It was an important result for the Brazilian.
It was an equally important result for Kobayashi. Perhaps it meant more for the Japanese but under the circumstance both have gravity. A Formula One podium is not to be taken for granted.
Kobayashi, once the brightest talent in Formula One, has been out shone by teammate Sergio Perez. The Mexican has signed with McLaren in place of Lewis Hamilton, reaffirming the lofty opinion in which he is held. Massa's star has fallen. He is Ferrari's second driver and some would say he's barely that.
Both drivers are reportedly seeking employment at years end. Kobayashi has hinted that he will not continue with Sauber while Massa's future has been under scrutiny for some time.
Both results therefore carried greater importance. It may not save them, but at least it makes any decision to replace them a little more difficult.A podium in Formula One is not to be taken for granted and this one serves as a timely reminder to all that both drivers have talent.
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