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Alonso keeps his cool to do the double 22 Oct 2006

Championship winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Interlagos, Brazil, 22 October 2006

Renault’s Fernando Alonso did exactly what was required of him in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix - drove a clean race, kept out of trouble and scored the points required to make him the sport’s youngest double world champion.

Alonso may have finished second in the race, almost 20 seconds behind the winning Ferrari of Felipe Massa, but it was a typically measured performance from the Spaniard, who knew that just a single point would be enough to retain his drivers’ title. He actually scored eight, helping Renault to retain the constructors’ championship into the bargain.

“What a wonderful feeling this is,” he said afterwards. “We have done a fantastic last part of the championship, scoring 26 points out of 30 possible, and that was enough to make us double champions. It is such a special moment to win both titles on the same day, and the atmosphere in the team is unbelievable.

“I have to say thank you; thank you to everybody in the team, to all the people at Enstone and Viry, to Michelin, to my team mate Giancarlo (Fisichella) and to Heikki (Kovalainen), who has done so much good work this year. In 2006, they have taught me many lessons: to always stay fair play, to put in the effort, to keep the focus and the determination to win. It has been up and down for us, but they never forgot the target, and we have done it now.”

Alonso - in his last Grand Prix for Renault before moving to McLaren - was closely pursued by Jenson Button for much of the Interlagos race, but never the let the Honda driver get close enough to attempt a pass, only too aware that tangling with the Englishman could have spelt disaster and handed the advantage to title rival Michael Schumacher. In the end a jubilant Alonso took the flag just 0.7 seconds ahead of Button.

“My memories from this season will be from the win in Barcelona, and also these times now, celebrating with the mechanics - and the celebrations to come in the next weeks in Spain,” he added. “This is the right time to enjoy what we have done. I am proud to have been racing with Michael (Schumacher) as well. It is an honour to have won the final two championships of his career, and I think they will mean more than any others I can win in my career. He is retiring as the man with all the records, and it has been big pressure to race against him - and a big privilege as well.”

The final standings see Alonso finish on 134 points, 13 ahead of Schumacher.