Force India's Fisichella Makes History, Raikkonen Wins


Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Aug 31: Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella created history by giving India their first-ever Formula One race point, finishing a sensational second in the Belgian Grand Prix, even as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen overtook the Italian, who started from the pole, to win the race.

Fisichella, who created history for Force India, said he was bit saddened by the result.

"Actually I was quicker than Kimi. He could overtake me just because of KERS at the beginning after the safety car phase and I am a little bit sad. It is great because we finished second, but actually we could have won the race," the Italian said.

He said they had achieved their goal of scoring points for his team Force India, partly owned by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

"It is a great result for us. The target was to score points and to finish second with eight points is a great result, but I am a bit sad."

Raikkonen give his team their first victory since last year's Brazilian GP. German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third.

Raikkonen needed one hour 23:50.995 seconds for the 44 laps of 7.004 kilometres each for a total distance of 308.052 km.

The safety car had to be deployed on the first lap after a multiple-car crash saw defending world champion Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes, championship leader Brawn GP's Jenson Button, the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean in a Renault, withdraw.

After the safety car withdrew on the fourth lap Raikkonen's Ferrari, which was driving with the speed-accelerating KERS system, managed to straight away overtake Fisichella for the lead and the Finn admitted that he benefited from the KERS system.

"I knew that to win it, I would have to get past him and if I had not done it after the safety car phase, it would have been difficult as they had too much speed to get it after that.

"I just made sure I was close enough at the first corner and then went as close as I could after that. I had to put in a lot of effort, we were probably not the fastest."

Raikkonen then managed to hold on to the lead after the first fuel stop.

However, Red Bull's Mark Webber, who was in third place in the championship standings ahead of the race, lost valuable ground when he was given a drive-through penalty after being released by his pit crew too early and nearly crashed into BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.

Raikkonen and Fisichella were then trading times as there was very little to chose between their speeds as Renault's Fernando Alonso had climbed up to third.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who started the race in second place had to retire in the 21st lap with engine trouble after having fallen behind through two bad pit stops.

Alonso's pit stop on the 24th lap then proved disastrous as pit crew struggled to change the left front tyre which had previously been damaged in a slight collision.

The Spaniard rejoined the race in 14th place - far off the pace, but had to give up shortly afterwards with a wheel problem.

Fisichella and Raikkonen both pitted for the last time in the 30th lap with the Ferrari again managing to come out fractionally first, but then failing to open up any real gap.

Vettel took over the lead when the two leading cars went into the pits and the young German tried to use the open lane to his advantage to gain some ground on the leading cars.

He managed to come out ahead of BMW Robert Kubica in third after his final pit stop and then clawed his way closer to the two leading cars, but in the end simply ran out of time to overtake Fisichella or Raikkonen.

For Raikkonen the victory was the first since he won in Spain in April last year. "It has not been an easy year for us. We have been lagging behind the top teams since the first race. Getting a win here was just perfect as it has been a long time since we last won."

Kubica finished fourth ahead of his team-mate Heidfeld, while Heikki Kovalainen in a McLaren took sixth place from Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello who managed to cross the finishing line even

though his car was leaking oil for the final laps.

The final championship point went to German Nico Rosberg in a Williams.

Button maintains his lead with 72 points from team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who has 56 points. Vettel is third with 54 points.

Vettel said that the championship is wide open. "This championship is a bit crazy. When I was a little boy and followed the championship it was always a little bit boring. You always knew who would be competitive.

"This year it is different. Force India were very competitive this week and I think will be strong in Monza. So it shows that you have to be consistent. Everything is possible, we are here to fight."

The next race is the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on September 13.


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Comment on this article

  • Kevin Dias, Mumbai

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    "The King Of Good Times" Any doubts on the man of high spending? It took him 30 F1 races a dream that was not on his agenda for the calendar year 2009. If you did see the race it was great from grid one position that was great to see how Fisichella was always at the back of Kim and never gave him time to breathe, if it was not for the Safety car and the KERS that Kim held it would have been a No. 1 Podium finish of the Belgian F1 GP for Mr. Vijay Mallya. The country should be proud that he has named his team FORCE INDIA, MR. M. S. GILL should be careful in statements that he makes to the media, he has always been a great figure in his political carrier. Anyway 3 Cheers to the man of good times and his entire team for bringing INDIA on the world circuit of motor sport.

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