India can boast of taking a major stride in Formula One after Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella drove from pole to second on the podium at the Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday.

The first points for the team owned by India’s liquor and airlines baron Vijay Mallya was a pleasant surprise, the team having failed to make an impact since it was launched ahead of the 2008 season.

The Indian media lapped up the news, indicating that F1′s popularity in India will only grow more rapidly as Indian fans gradually embrace the team as theirs.

Although home fans would have hoped an Indian driver had produced the achievement, India would still celebrate Fisichella’s success.

Indian F1 hopes were given a huge boost when Narain Karthikeyan was signed up by Jordan in 2005. However, an uncompetitive car and his lack of experience at the highest level meant India’s first F1 driver stayed very briefly in the limelight.