Raikkonen wins Malaysian Grand Prix, Force India is 12th

March 23rd, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Anand Philar
Kuala Lumpur, March 23 (IANS) While Kimi Raikkonen signalled the return of Ferrari with a telling victory in the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix here Sunday, Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella delivered a 12th place finish at the Sepang Circuit. World champion Raikkonen failed to finish last weekend’s season-opener in Australia but the Finn sealed his 16th grand prix victory when he took the lead from teammate Felipe Massa at the first set of pit-stops.

Raikkonen finished 20 seconds ahead of BMW Sauder’s Robert Kubica, who came second. Heikki Kovalainen driving McLaren-Mercedes was third, 19 seconds behind Kubica.

Meanwhile, Force India’s Fisichella, starting from the 17th position, had to negotiate heavy traffic as he was off to a poor start. However, using his vast experience to good effect, he climbed to 15th spot and trailed Rubens Barrichello of Honda until the Brazilian came in to serve a drive-through penalty. It allowed the Italian to get in front and eventually finish 12th for Force India.

Fisichella’s teammate Adrian Sutil, however, lasted six laps before retiring with a mechanical problem after moving from 21st to 14th position.

“Very early on in the race, I developed a mechanical problem and had to switch the engine off and pull off the track. I am very disappointed with this start to the season, especially after I had to stop so soon into the race in Australia too,” Sutil said.

However, Fisichella said he was quite pleased with his overall performance here after the disastrous season-opener in Australia last week.

“I think we honestly did our best here. At the start I had a lot of wheel spin and lost a lot of positions, I don’t know why but we have to look into it. On my first stint I was suffering a lot of under-steer with graining on the soft tyres but then in my stop I adjusted the front flap and went onto the harder tyres and stayed on them for both stints. I am happy with the race pace later on though and it is promising for the rest of the season,” said Fisichella.

MacLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, winner of last week’s Australian Grand Prix, leads the championship with 14 points after two races, ahead of Raikkonen and Heidfeld with 11.

The next race is in Bahrain April 6.

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