Giancarlo Fisichella to reach motorsport milestone in Monaco

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New Delhi, May 16 (UNI) Force India's lead driver Giancarlo Fisichella will celebrate his 200th Grand Prix start in Monaco, becoming only the ninth driver in history to reach the milestone.

By the end of this season he will have moved up to fifth overall in the rankings of all-time starts.

To mark the event, Giancarlo will start the Monaco race in a new set of Alpinestars overalls and a helmet commissioned from Arai bearing a '200' logo.

The Italian's Formula One debut came with Minardi in Australia back in March 1996.

Adrian Sutil is the 11th team mate Giancarlo has had during his F1 career. The others were Pedro Lamy, Ralf Schumacher, Alex Wurz, Jenson Button, Takuma Sato, Ralph Firman, Felipe Massa, Zsolt Baumgartner, Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen.

Until he was partnered with Alonso at Renault in 2005 Giancarlo had finished ahead of his team mate in the World Championship in every full season he had completed, except his first season at Benetton in 1998, when he was one point behind Wurz. In 2001 he beat Button by 8/2, and in 2004 he beat Massa by 22/12.

Giancarlo has won three Grands Prix. The first victory was with Jordan in a wet Brazilian race in 2003. Unfortunately due to an error by the timekeepers he was only awarded second place on the day. After the mistake was acknowledged he was given his trophy at the next race at Imola. It remains the only official prize giving ceremony that did not take place on the day of the race.

His two other wins came with Renault in Australia in 2005, and Malaysia in 2006. Both were achieved from pole position.

He has scored a total of 18 podium finishes, including six second places and nine thirds. Three of his second places came behind Michael Schumacher (Belgium 1997, Canada 1998, Brazil 2000), two behind Mika Hakkinen (Monaco 1998, Canada 1999), and one behind Kimi Raikkonen (Japan 2005).

Giancarlo has been on pole three times. Prior to Australia 2005 and Malaysia 2006 he had achieved his first in damp conditions with Benetton in Austria in 1998. In total he has started from the front row on 10 occasions.

He has twice set the fastest lap, in Spain in both 1997 and 2005.

Giancarlo's best World Championship finish was fourth with Renault in 2006, when he also scored a career best 72 points. He was fifth in 2006, and sixth in 2000. He has never finished lower than 12th.

He scored his first points when he finished fourth in Imola in 1997. He has finished in the points 72 times, and has scored a career total of 267 points.

At the age of 35, and now in his 13th season, Giancarlo is as motivated as ever.

''I don't think I've changed much, but I hope I am a better driver than when I started. I've learned quite a lot, how to manage the race, how to manage the qualifying session, and to put more attention on testing and talking with the engineers and mechanics,'' he said. ''I still feel young, I still feel happy to work in F1, to be an F1 driver. The only problem is travelling around the world all the time! But apart from that, I still enjoy F1. I wouldn't still be here if I didn't.'' UNI AB RKM RN1749

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