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Riding onboard with Raikkonen as he begins his Monza fightback

08 Sep 2015

After claiming his first front-row grid slot in over two years, Kimi Raikkonen’s hopes of challenging for victory on Ferrari's home soil on Sunday were over in a matter of seconds as he made what must surely rate as the worst start of the season so far. But though the Finn’s nightmare getaway had the tifosi pulling their hair out, it did at least set the stage for an epic fightback through the field to fifth, a fightback which, as this video shows, began on the very first lap…

There can be few worse feelings for a driver than sitting vulnerably in the middle of the track as cars sweep by on either side at breakneck speed - but that’s exactly the situation Raikkonen found himself in at the start of the Formula 1 Gran Premio d’Italia 2015.

"I don't know exactly what happened,” the Finn explained after the race. “As far as I know I did everything correctly, but when I let the clutch go the car went into anti-stall and did not move at all…"

Regardless of what caused his poor launch, the fact of the matter was that by the time the field reached the first chicane Raikkonen was dead last.

However, it wouldn’t take the 2007 world champion long to move back up the order.

Studying the video shows how Raikkonen uses a great exit out of the tight right-left switchback to power past Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen through Curva Grande, and then - moments after taking a face-full of dirt kicked up by the cars ahead - races past Pastor Maldonado’s ailing Lotus on the approach to the second chicane.

Marussia’s Roberto Merhi is the next man to be dispatched, Raikkonen breezing by on the quick blast down to the Ascari chicane - but only after he narrowly avoids losing his front wing with an optimistic look up the inside of the Spaniard into the second Lesmo.

By this stage two-thirds of the lap has been completed, but remarkably there is still time for Raikkonen to complete three more passes before crossing the start-finish line.

Approaching the Parabolica he uses all of his Ferrari's grunt to slipstream past Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat to take P16, and then as Will Stevens slides wide midway around the long right-hander he gratefully dives inside the Marussia to pick up another place.  

An amazing first-lap comeback is complete when Sauber’s Felipe Nasr - Raikkonen's next target - peels into the pits with a puncture, lifting the Finn yet further up the order.

From second to last to 14th - all in under two minutes. Rarely has a driver had a more eventful first lap of a Grand Prix.