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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 08:39 GMT
Fisichella leads Renault one-two
RACE RESULT
Giancarlo Fisichella savours the moment on the podium after his Malaysian Grand Prix victory
1 G Fisichella (Renault)
2 F Alonso (Renault)
3 J Button (Honda)
4 JP Montoya (McLaren)
5 F Massa (Ferrari)
6 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
7 J Villeneuve (BMW Sauber)
8 R Schumacher (Toyota)
Giancarlo Fisichella led from the front in Malaysia to earn his first Grand Prix win in a year and beat Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso into second.

The Italian held off Alonso's mid-race charge at the Sepang circuit to secure his third career win.

Briton Jenson Button rarely threatened the Renaults but came home third for his first podium finish of the season, ahead of McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher were fifth and sixth.

Massa was very impressive in using a one-stop strategy to move up from 19th on the grid.

The Brazilian had to hold off a charging Schumacher in the closing laps as his team-mate fought up from 14th on the grid.

It was a tough race, physically and mentally, but... the car balance was just fantastic
Giancarlo Fisichella

The Ferraris benefited from the late retirement of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld from fifth place.

World champion Alonso made a ferocious start, employing Renault's stunning start power to surge from seventh on the grid to third on the first corner.

However, Fisichella was in determined mood and constantly topped the lap times as he held on throughout.

Despite early suggestions that Spaniard Alonso might be employing a one-stop strategy after his team inadvertently gave him too much fuel in qualifying, a short pit-stop on lap 26 ensured he would be in twice.

Fisichella was determined his team-mate would not catch him, and he had a lead of more than 10 seconds after Alonso's final stop.

Giancarlo Fisichella leads Jenson Button at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Button (behind) had no answer to the pace of the Renaults
The world champion slashed Fisichella's lead to around eight seconds before Renault told them to hold station and conserve their cars.

Fisichella, who dedicated his win to a boyhood friend who died in an accident a week ago, said: "It was a tough race, physically and mentally, but... the car balance was just fantastic.

"It was an emotional weekend for me and it was important to do my best because I lost a friend of mine."

Alonso added: "For me it's the perfect start to the championship. Eighteen points in two races is what I dreamed of before Bahrain."

There was no part of the race where we could have gone any quicker - we've got a bit of work to do
Jenson Button
Button, starting from second on the grid, twice emerged from the pits behind Montoya to find himself held up by the Colombian, as he did in Bahrain last week.

The 25-year-old was easily able to beat the McLaren, which was on a slightly different strategy, but he was not able to hold off the charging Alonso.

Alonso's explosive opening was in stark contrast to a number of other drivers as several were forced out in the early stages.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen's terrible luck continued after he lost his right rear suspension in a collision with Christian Klein on lap one, the impact of which also ended the Red Bull driver's race despite the best efforts of his pit team.

Williams also suffered problems after the two cars started on the second row of the grid.

An engine failure ended star rookie Nico Rosberg's race on lap seven, and Mark Webber pulled up with hydraulics failure on the 16th.

The other BMW Sauber driver Jacques Villeneuve came home in seventh and Ralf Schumacher came through the flag in eighth after pitting three times.


Malaysian Grand Prix result:

1. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault one hour 30 minutes 40.529 seconds
2. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault at 4.585 seconds
3. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 9.631
4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes 39.351
5. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 43.254
6. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 43.854
7. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) BMW Sauber 1:20.400
8. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:21.200
9. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1 lap
10. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda one lap
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth two laps
12. Christijan Albers (Ned) Midland-Toyota 2 laps
13. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota 2 laps
14. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 3 laps
R Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 48 laps completed
R Scott Speed (USA) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 41 laps
R Yuji Ide (Jpn) Super Aguri 33 laps
R Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull-Ferrari 26 laps
R Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 15 laps
R David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Ferrari 10 laps
R Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth six laps
R Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 0 laps

Key: R = retired


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: Fisichella win sets up Renault one-two



SEE ALSO
Fisichella beats Button to pole
18 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Alonso beats Schumacher in opener
12 Mar 06 |  Formula One
New format wins seal of approval
11 Mar 06 |  Formula One


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