Fisichella wins on the podium, at last

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
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku Plus

The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021