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
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022