Preview: Fisichella Aims for Monaco Glory

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella senses Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix could be his chance to emerge from the shadow of Championship-leading teammate Fernando Alonso

Preview: Fisichella Aims for Monaco Glory

Italian Fisichella feels completely at home on the tight and twisty street circuit, having finished second and third there with Benetton, and has never had a better opportunity to win Formula One's glamour race.

"I love the sensation of driving through the streets and really pushing to the limit," said the winner of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. "In the past, I have always gone well in Monaco, and it should be the same this year."

Renault won in the Mediterranean principality last year with Fisichella's compatriot Jarno Trulli, now second in the standings with Toyota, and have made a dream start to 2005.

Only McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen triumphant in the last Spanish Grand Prix, have beaten them in five races this year, with Alonso victorious in three.

Alonso has 44 points to Trulli's 26 and Raikkonen's 17.

While champions Ferrari are desperate to end a six-race losing streak extending back to last October, the signs are that Michael Schumacher, with only 10 points so far, will be struggling to break the blank in Monte Carlo.

Fisichella, ending a dismal run of three retirements with fifth place in Barcelona, hopes to be the man of the moment despite Alonso's obvious claims.

"I am in the right place in first qualifying, near the end of the session when track conditions will be best, and that means I can fight to get a good grid position, which is so important in Monaco," he said.

One Better

"It feels like I have broken out of the cycle I was in, where I kept on having to qualify early...I have already finished third and second in Monaco. It would be wonderful to go one better this year."

Schumacher has not given up hope of a sixth Monaco win, which would equal the late Ayrton Senna's record tally, after being thwarted last year by a collision with Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams in the tunnel behind the safety car.

The German's retirement from the last race has made it difficult, however, by forcing him to run early in first qualifying.

Trulli will also be one to watch as he tries to repeat last year's heroics and bring Toyota their first Grand Prix win.

McLaren are the team with the best recent form in Monaco and another victory for them would allow engine partners Mercedes to celebrate their 200th Championship start in style.
 
Raikkonen will be a big threat, particularly if he takes his third pole position in a row since Monaco is a circuit where overtaking is extremely difficult.

Colombian teammate Montoya cannot be ruled out either, despite the lingering effects of his recent shoulder injury, having won the race with Williams in 2003.

Alonso, who is chasing his sixth successive podium finish, feels Monaco will be far closer than Spain was.

"I don't think the race gave a representative picture of the difference between our cars, because Kimi was able to pull away too easily in the first stint as I was struggling with the car," said the Spaniard.

"I think we will be much more equal in Monaco, and I am feeling very confident," added the 23-year-old, who crashed last year while Renault were heading for a one-two finish.

"We will be aiming for the podium from the start of the weekend and then we need to see how things unfold, and how we can fight for more."

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