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F1 NEWS 

Petrov gets big Rankings rise

Petrov's podium was the surprise achievement of the weekendVitaly Petrov was the big climber in the Castrol EDGE Rankings this week as his Formula 1 maiden podium finish gained him 10 places.

The Renault driver was sensational all weekend in Australia, qualifying a career-best sixth and then becoming the first Russian to finish on the podium. His most convincing performance to date allowed him to move up from 50th to 40th in the Rankings.

Red Bull Sebastian Vettel remains top of the Rankings for a 53rd consecutive week after his victory at Melbourne, while a second place for McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (5) allowed him to close to within a handful of points of Fernando Alonso (4), who finished off the podium.

The big losers in Australia were Felipe Massa (14), who failed to match his podium finish from last year's season opener and dropped three spots, and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher (30), who retired after his Mercedes was damaged by a put from Jaime Alguersuari. The German dropped four positions.

Dario Franchitti was the highest-placed mover in the Rankings this week after the Ganassi driver kicked off his IndyCar title defence with victory at St Petersburg.

He overtook Jimmie Johnson for eighth in the Rankings as the Hendrick Chevrolet driver was beaten to a NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Fontana by Kevin Harvick (11) at the last corner of the last lap. Harvick's win gained him a spot at Massa's expense.

While Franchitti won from his 2010 title rival Will Power (6), a first corner crash eliminated Andretti Autosport duo Marco Andretti and Mike Conway. While Andretti kept his 44th place, series returnee Conway fell 41 to 441st.

There was much better news for Andretti refugee Tony Kanaan (31), who scored a brilliant podium finish just a week after signing for the KV team to climb three places, and for HVM driver Simona de Silvestro (139), who took a career-best fourth and gained 24 spots.

Sebastien Ogier (17) gained six places by winning the latest round of the World Rally Championship in Portugal. The Frenchman's Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb was second, which was enough to move him to the head of the Castrol EDGE Race for 2011 as well as maintaining his third spot in the Rankings.

Stef Dusseldorp (386) and Clivio Piccione (259) gained 112 and 70 respectively after winning the opening round of the GT1 World Championship at Yas Marina, while last year's winners Romain Grosjean (70) and Thomas Mutsch (238) were absent and lost four and 69 spots.

To see the full Castrol EDGE Rankings and Castrol EDGE Race for 2011, please visit www.castroldriverrankings.com

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