Giancarlo Fisichella finally made a welcome return to the podium after powering his Renault to a third place finish in his home Grand Prix at Monza.

The Italian joined team-mate Fernando Alonso on the Italian Grand Prix podium as he secured his first top three finish since his victory in the season opener in Melbourne back in March.

A run of three retirements following that win saw Alonso get the jump on his team-mate to launch a title challenge, while Fisichella has seen his season beset by problems which have seen his Renault fail to make the finish on four occasions - five if you include the US Grand Prix where the Michelin runners failed to take the start.

However at Monza, Fisichella produced a strong display to return to the podium and was thrilled to do so in front of his home fans.

"This is a great day for me - to be on the podium at my home race in Monza, and to see the crowd cheering during the ceremony, was such a special feeling," he said. "The balance of the R25 was fantastic today, but the grip levels were quite bad and that meant it was a really hard race. But from eighth on the grid, I think we had a perfect strategy and it is great to finish on the podium after starting so far back.

"The race was what I expected really - we knew that BAR and Ferrari would stop earlier than us on the first stint, and the only concern was with Trulli. Luckily, he stopped one lap earlier than me and in that space, I really pushed and got past him. I think that was the moment that got me third place this afternoon. It is a great result for the team as well to have both of us on the podium, and the next track should suit our car well - plus Spa is a great circuit for me too.

"This afternoon showed we are still competitive, and attacking all the way to the last race."

 

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