Giancarlo Fisichella finally avenged the misfortune that has dogged him for more than a year by scoring the third win of his grand prix career in Malaysia on Sunday (March 12th).
The Italian started from pole position and drove a near-flawless race to withstand challenges from Honda’s Jenson Button and Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The world champion eventually leapfrogged Button to seal Renault’s first 1-2 as a constructor since the 1982 French Grand Prix and cement its status as the team to beat in 2006.
Even though Fernando was handicapped in qualifying by starting the race with a heavy fuel load (there was a problem with the refuelling rig), it was a great performance by the Spanaird to finish second and extend his championship over his rivals.
Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher had to start the race from 14th position after an engine change and finished the race behind his team-mate, Felipe Massa, in sixth.
As for Kimi Raikkonen? The luckluss Finn had to retire on the first lap when his McLaren was hit from behind by Christian Klien at the preceding corner and with broken rear suspension he was a passenger as his McLaren veered off the road at 130mph.
But it was a good day for Jacques Villenueve (BMW Sauber) and Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) who scored their first points with seventh and eighth respectively.
A good race for Renault and we will see if the French team can keep up with its impressive start to the season in Melbourne in two weeks time.