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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 04:31 GMT
Fisichella romps to Australia win
Giancarlo Fisichella celebrates victory in the Australian Grand Prix
1 G Fisichella (Renault)
2 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
3 F Alonso (Renault)
4 D Coulthard (Red Bull)
5 M Webber (Williams)
6 JP Montoya (McLaren)
7 C Klien (Red Bull)
8 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella won the first race of the 2005 Formula One season after a dominant performance at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Italian led from start to finish, losing the lead only during his two pit stops, to beat Rubens Barrichello of Ferrari and Renault's Fernando Alonso.

David Coulthard was an impressive fourth for new team Red Bull Racing, with Jenson Button's BAR a poor 11th.

Michael Schumacher retired after a collision with Williams' Nick Heidfeld.

Mark Webber was fifth for Williams after pressuring Coulthard throughout the race.

The Australian beat Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren, which showed strong pace but the Colombian lost a potential second place when he ran on to the grass late in the race.

Montoya's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was eighth, behind Coulthard's team-mate Christian Klien.

Raikkonen started from the pit lane after stalling on the grid and spent the first part of the race behind Schumacher.

The Finn's progress was slowed when he damaged an aerodynamic aid on his car by running off the track while trying to make up ground.

With Raikkonen starting to fall back towards Schumacher, the world champion suffered an abrupt retirement as drivers were starting to make their second and final stops.

Schumacher had not looked particularly impressive at any point during the race, but was up to ninth after qualifying 18th.

As he headed into Turn Three on lap 42, Schumacher veered at Heidfeld as the Williams driver made a move to pass him.

Heidfeld was forced on to the grass, where he lost grip and skidded into Schumacher, knocking both out of the race.

David Coulthard
Coulthard drove an impressive race to fourth place

But for once Schumacher was a sideshow to others, as Renault backed up their status as pre-season favourites.

Fisichella was largely untroubled on his way to victory, controlling the gap to his pursuers with ease throughout the race.

"It was easy from the beginning to the end," Fisichella said.

"It's the best start of my career and to win the first race of the season is great.

"I was quite conservative, never pushed to the limit except at the end when Rubens was catching me and I went a little quicker."

But Fisichella's team-mate Alonso was equally impressive as he made his way through the field from 13th on the grid.

The Spaniard's performance underlined the fact that either man would have been difficult to beat - even without the tospy-turvy grid that was produced by rain during Saturday's first qualifying session.

Barrichello, who had qualified 11th, saved Ferrari's day with a quietly impressive drive.

The Brazilian worked his way into the lower reaches of the top six with ease, but turned on the pace to leapfrog Coulthard, Webber and Montoya at the second and final pit stops.

Coulthard was able to answer the detractors who said he should retire rather than join a midfield team like Red Bull.

The Scot qualified fifth and was a feature throughout the race, absorbing heavy pressure from Webber.

Australian Grand Prix result:

1 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1hr 24mins 17.336secs
2 Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Ferrari at 5.5secs
3 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault at 6.7
4 David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull at 16.1
5 Mark Webber (Aus) Williams at 16.9
6 Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren at 35.0
7 Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull at 38.9
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren at 39.6
9 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota at 1min 03.1secs
10 Felipe Massa (Bra) Sauber at 1:04.3
11 Jenson Button (GB) BAR at one lap
12 Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota at one lap
13 Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Sauber at one lap
14 Takuma Sato (Jpn) BAR at two laps
15 Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) Jordan at two laps
16 Tiago Monteiro (Por) Jordan at two laps
17 Patrick Freisacher (Aut) Minardi at four laps

Not classified: Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 42 laps
Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Williams 42 laps
Christijan Albers (Ned) Minardi 16 Laps

Report: BBC motorsport commentator Maurice Hamilton

Renault expecting more victories
06 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Button rues 'awful' start to year
06 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Coulthard thrills Red Bull boss
06 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Stoddart calls for Mosley's head
06 Mar 05 |  Formula One
Fisichella seals Australia pole
06 Mar 05 |  Formula One

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