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Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui KobayashiDate of birth: 13/9/1986
Place of birth: Amagasaki, Japan

First race: 2009 Brazilian GP
Previous team(s): Toyota
Current team: Sauber
Current car number: 23

Highest championship position: 18th (2009)
Highest race finish: 6th (x1)
Podiums: 0
Career points: 3
Highest grid position: 11th (x1)
Fastest laps: 0

Karting

In his first season karting at the age of nine years old Kobayashi finished 3rd showing early promise.  Kobayashi was to stay in karts and harvest his talent (taking four titles) but it wasn’t until 2004 that he would progress out of karts.

Open wheel racing

In 2003 Kobayashi raced to second in the Formula Toyota Championship and not long after in 2004 Kobayashi signed for Toyota’s Driving Academy. He entered Formula Renault (achieving two wins in the Italian series), but it was in his second year in the Italian and European classes where he would take both titles.

In the Euro Series of Formula 3 he finished up eight, a big achievement for a rookie but he suffered in GP2 and only managed 16th overall for two years and one of which was winless.

F1

When Timo Glock was absent due to injury from the Toyota squad in 2009 it was up to Kobayashi to fill his cockpit. His two races certainly made an immediate impression; at Brazil he kept title contender Button behind him for several laps and made a nice pass on Nakajima. However, a collision with Nakajima raised eyebrows at the lengths Kamui was prepared to go but he was spared punishment from the stewards. At Abu Dhabi he overtook Raikkonen at the start and kept him behind, and also overtook champion-in-waiting Button, although the Briton was on cold tires. Kamui would battle on to finish 6th and beat teammate and Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli.

His performances were a surprise considering his mixed results in lower Formulae but Kobayshi quickly won the support of many by his gutsy and flat-out drives. More importantly, he caught the attention of Peter Sauber who signed the rookie to his F1 team (Sauber) for 2010.

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