Mon, Mar 20, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Fisichella comes through for Renault in Malaysian GP

AP , SEPANG, MALAYSIA

Italian Formula One driver Giancarlo Fisichella leads the pack at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, in Spang, Malaysia, yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella won the Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday, his third win in Formula One.

In second was teammate Fernando Alonso, 4.5 seconds behind, while Honda's Jenson Button took third in the 56-lap race at the 5.5km Sepang International Circuit.

It was only the second Renault 1-2 finish ever, with the last coming 24 years ago at the 1982 French Grand Prix.

"It was important for me to do my best," said Fisichella, who dedicated the win to his friend, Pietro, who died in an accident a week ago. "It was really hot. In the middle of the race you are tired. Its important to concentrate."

"Its the opposite of last year," added Fisichella, who won in Australia in 2005 but fell off the championship wagon with a series of failures on the track.

Fisichella's elation was in stark contrast to last week at Bahrain, when he began swearing into the team radio when he dropped out after 21 laps.

Juan Pablo Montoya in a McLaren-Mercedes was fourth.

Fisichella has previously won at the rain-shortened Brazilian Grand Prix in 2003 -- a victory initially given to Kimi Raikkonen -- and last year's Australian race.

Alonso and Michael Schumacher, who share the last six world championships between them, started seventh and 14th on the grid after engine changes shuffled the starting lineup after qualifying.

Ferrari's Schumacher had the fourth fastest time in qualifying but dropped down the starting order because of an unscheduled engine change. Ferrari was uncertain of the reliability of the new V8 engine after the opening race.

He finish behind teammate Felipe Massa in sixth place Sunday.

Fisichella meanwhile, outsped them both Schumacher and Alonso with the fastest qualifying time and controlled the race from the start after dropping out of last week's season-opening Bahrain GP after 21 laps with engine problems.

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