Ferrari’s Felipe Massa became the first Brazilian to win his home race since the late, great Ayrton Senna back in 1993. The new World Champion, Fernando Alonso, finished in second position with Honda’s Jenson Button in third.
Alonso is now the youngest double world champion and it was a fantastic achievement after a long season battle with Michael Schumacher. The outgoing seven times world champion – taking part in his final ever Formula One race – drove superbly despite suffering a rear-left puncture in the early stages of the Grand Prix. He produced a great comeback drive to finish in fourth, setting the fastest lap during the 71-lap race.
Michael’s performance was magnificent and it’s a shame that we won’t be able to see this kind of driving standards next year… The other drivers and Formula One fans around the world will miss his level of dedication and commitment in the sport.
As for Alonso, the Spaniard did what was required to win his second consecutive title by finishing in the points to take that important drivers’ championship. He drove a steady race and avoided trouble to finish behind the winner Massa, who simply drove a lights-to-flag race.
Massa was overcome with emotion after winning and has even admitted that this was the “easiest drives of his career”.
“It is just amazing isn’t it,” said a tearful Massa. “After 13 years without a Brazilian winning the Brazilian Grand Prix for me it is just amazing to be in front of my people, the first year I have a good car, a fantastic car.
“It was probably the easiest race of my life. I could control everything and wasn’t pushing a lot. I was happy to have that moment.
“It is just a dream come true. You see the whole people bringing the flag, screaming your name and jumping, dancing, whatever, just for you. It is difficult to explain, whatever drivers would love to be in my position, Fernando won his home Grand Prix this year and it was fantastic.
“It is the best day of my life.”
I believe the new 2006 world champion must be feeling the same way and after the race, Fernando Alonso paid tribute to his main rival Michael Schumacher following the German’s final Formula One race in Brazil. The Spaniard said it had been an honour racing against Schumacher.
“It has been very close and I think it is good to fight with him,” said Alonso. “I always said that to become champion when Michael is still on track gives it more value.
“I was extremely lucky to win the world championships when he races, I think we all wish him the best for his new life with his family.
“It has for us been pleasure for us to race with him.”
Schumacher, ten points behind Alonso but with seven wins each, had needed one last victory to have any hope of an unprecedented eighth title while the Spaniard required only a single point from his last race with Renault before joining McLaren next year.
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore also paid homage to Schumacher following his amazing drive at Interlagos.
“I think today we have to show great respect for Michael Schumacher, because what he’s done today will go down in the history of F1,” Briatore said. “He was flying. I don’t know what he had but he was literally flying.
“We’ve won a difficult championship against an extremely difficult rival, Ferrari, so congratulations to them too for keeping the title open even too much.”
So after 18-races in this exciting and dramatic season, it’s nice to see Fernando Alonso winning his second championship. The Spaniard drove superbly all year in the Renault R26 and it is such a rich reward for the driver and the French manufacturer to win the drivers’ and constructors’ title after a year long battle against Michael and Ferrari.
Thank you Michael for providing some great drives all season. Without your dedication to the sport, we wouldn’t have a tense and dramatic season finale. You will be sadly missed when the new Formula One season resumes in Melbourne next March.