Fisichella wins on the podium, at last
Giancarlo Fisichella found out on Sunday what it felt like to celebrate a grand prix victory on the same day as the race rather than a week later.

The Italian's cruise to the chequered flag in the Australian season-opener made up for the emptiness of 2003 when, due to a timing mix-up, he was recognised as winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix days after everyone had gone home.

It also ended the Renault driver's status as a one-hit wonder, albeit a highly-regarded one, whose sole Formula One triumph before Melbourne could comfortably be described as freakish.

That win, for struggling Jordan, came against all the odds in a rain-soaked race at Interlagos that was stopped a lap after Fisichella had taken the lead.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was declared winner on the afternoon, before handing the trophy to Fisichella at the following race at Imola in Italy in a low-key ceremony before a smattering of fans.

Sunday's was a proper victory, Fisichella hailed by the crowd and cheering mechanics as he sprayed the champagne.

"It was about time," he said after being pushed down the pitlane while standing up in his car, arms raised like a conquering Roman emperor.

Visiting Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage handed him his black cowboy hat as a trophy.

"It was nice to have the possibility to celebrate my victory from the right position on the podium," Fisichella said.

"It has been a fantastic race...we are in really good shape and it is the best start of my career. To win the first race of the season is great and I am really, really happy."

Luck played a part in Sunday's win with the Roman being favoured by the fickle weather that rained on his principal rivals' hopes.

He qualified on pole, only his second to date, after the heavens opened on Saturday just as he completed his quick lap and did not look back.

"I was really lucky on Saturday and we were able to manage the big gap between me and the other competitors," he said.

For once, in a career full of wrong moves, Fisichella was confident he was on the right track with championship contenders Renault.

Where he had yearned to join champions Ferrari, as every Italian racing driver does, now he was beating them with every chance of further success.

He joined Renault from Sauber at the end of last season, finally fulfilling his desire to be with a top team after stints with Minardi, Benetton and Jordan.

"It is the first time in my life that I drive a car with a lot of potential, a good car which has been quick and consistent from the beginning to end," said the 32-year-old.

"This is great for me, after 10 years in Formula One.

"I never showed my talent because I never drove the right car. Yes, I won in Brazil in wet conditions a couple of years ago but the rest of the season was very frustrating," he added.

"So this year I've got a great car and I don't want to lose the opportunity to show my talent and to win races."
shares
comments
Sunday's Selected Quotes - Australian GP

Previous article

Sunday's Selected Quotes - Australian GP

Next article

Karthikeyan Bowled Over by Adoring Fans

Karthikeyan Bowled Over by Adoring Fans
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella
Author Alan Baldwin
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021