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Superb race earns Fisichella sixth place 30 May 2004

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Sauber Petronas C23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Nurburgring, Germany, Qualifying, 29 May 2004

Sauber star charges through field to take three points

Starting the European Grand Prix all the way down in 19th place after losing an engine in practice, Fisichella's hopes for the race were not high. The Italian driver needn't have worried, though.

"It won´t be an easy race," he said beforehand, "at least you can overtake here and I know we can be competitive."

He certainly was. A long first stint to his two-stop strategy helped to move his Sauber up the order, and by mid-race he was running in seventh place. Sato's retirement with mechanical failure helped to promote him to an eventual sixth place finish, giving him three much-needed world championship points.

"After all the problems I had over the weekend it is wonderful to score points" he said, "our target was to score points, but I never believed that sixth was possible. The car was fantastic today, the balance and behaviour were impeccable. I made a good start, our strategy was perfect and we did a great job as a team!"

Both Fisichella and team-mate Felipe Massa are now equal ninth in the drivers' championship with nine points. Sauber's ten points in the constructors' championship mean that they occupy fifth place, a total of 10 points putting them five points ahead of McLaren.