Former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen claimed the checkered flag at the end of the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, giving Lotus F1 its first race win since Ayrton Senna's 1987 United States Grand Prix triumph.
Raikkonen's victory came at the misfortune of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton after an apparent electrical problem retired his McLaren MP4-27 on the 20th lap.
For the next 35 laps, all Raikkonen had to do in his Lotus-Renault E20 was to hold off a hard-charging Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F2012, who finished in second place. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel protected his lead in the championship leaderboard by bringing the RB8 in third place after passing McLaren's Jenson Button with just three laps left in the race.
"I'm very happy for the team--and myself--but mainly for all the crew here and everyone at Enstone," said Raikkonen after the race. "It's been a hard season and I feel this win is well deserved for everyone and just what we need. We've not had the easiest time in the last few races. Hopefully, this gives everyone more belief, not just for everyone working at the track and at the factory, but for everyone behind the scenes running the team. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins--if not this year, then next year."
Raikkonen's victory is his 19th in Formula 1 and Lotus's 48th overall. Raikkonen also achieved in one season what Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Michael Schumacher couldn't do in three seasons, and that's to win a race after coming back from retirement.
Incidentally, the Finn provided what is now probably the best sound bite of the ongoing F1 season. When being given instructions by his race engineer, Raikkonen shot back: "Leave me alone; I know what I'm doing." Needless to say, countless fans watching the race on TV loved it.
One thing is for sure: The Iceman is back.