Associated Press

Melbourne, March 6:

Giancarlo Fisichella had to wait five days between winning his first Grand Prix title and having it confirmed. And that was after he had 100 starts in Formula One. So his celebrations when he drove his Renault to first place from pole position in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix were understandably exuberant. Fisichella won his second title in 142 starts and ended Michael Schumacher’s domination at Melbourne’s Albert Park, the seven-time world champion failing to get his Ferrari across the line. The minor places on the podium didn’t change from 2004, with Schumacher’s Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in second place and Fisichella’s Renault teammate Fernando Alonso placing third. Fisichella completed 57 laps of the 5.303-km circuit in 1 hour, 24 minutes, 17.336 seconds, just over 5.5 seconds ahead of Barrichello.

Schumacher, who won 13 of the 18 GP events last season to collect his fifth drivers’ championship in succession and a sixth consecutive constructors’ title for Ferrari, collided with Williams driver Nick Heidfeld and retired on the 43rd lap. Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian driver in F1, slipped from 12th to 15th, edging Jordan rookie Tiago Monteiro by one spot. Minardi, which hurried to modify its cars to bring them up to 2005 specifications after aborting legal action to have the 2004 cars run, had one car in 17th and one failed to finish.