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Brazil GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
22/10/2006

Felipe, you're the first Brazilian to win your home Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna.
Felipe Massa: Yes, it's just amazing isn't it? I think it's not for 13 years that a Brazilian driver has won the Brazilian Grand Prix and for me it's just amazing: to be here, in front of my people, my first year that I have a good car – I mean a fantastic car, because after the race today, I think it was maybe the easiest race of my life, because I could control everything. I wasn't pushing a lot and you know, I'm really happy to have that moment, and I'm sure… it's just difficult to explain, it's just very very special for me.

Talk about your emotions on the podium, and the slow-down lap and what it means to be a Brazilian to win in this Formula One-crazy country.
FM: Well, it's just a dream come true. You see all the people bringing the flags, screaming your name and they are really jumping and dancing, whatever, just for you, so I think it's difficult to explain. I'm sure every driver would love to be in my position. Fernando won his home Grand Prix this year and I'm sure it was very very special for him. So it's just the best day of my life.

Fernando, you had to score points here to clinch the championship; you did that well and truly, finishing second and you've won back-to-back World Championships.
Fernando Alonso: Yes, it's been a fantastic weekend, and ‘specially the race, a very long race, obviously, for us because we only needed one point to become champion, and for sure, if I could help the team become Constructors' champion as well, I was ready to do it, and you know everything was as planned. Ferrari were too quick, but we managed to overtake Kimi in the first pit stop and then a lot of pressure from Jenson, but we managed to finish second. But as you say, it didn't matter the position, the important thing today was to become champion again for the second consecutive time and we did it. Nothing more to say, it's an unbelievable feeling.

Can I invite you to say a few words about Michael Schumacher in his last Grand Prix today, finished fourth only five seconds behind you at the end after a puncture he incurred in passing your teammate; very close rivalry between you two all season.
FA: Yeah, it has been very close. I think it was good to fight with him. I always said that to become champion when Michael was still on the track has maybe more value than when he retired and I was extremely lucky to win the last two championships he raced in. I think all the drivers wish him the best for his new life with his family. It has been a pleasure for us to race with him.

Finally, Fernando, how did you pace your race once you knew Michael was in trouble; you obviously defended against Rubens, but at one point Jarno Trulli got inside you?
FA: Yes. When Michael had the problem with the tyre on lap three or four after the safety car, we already turned down the revs because the championship was immediately in a good move, so I think we controlled the race, basically, from the beginning, not pushing any more than what we should do.

Jenson, congratulations, a great drive from fourteenth on the grid after an electronic problem yesterday, to your third podium of the year.
Jenson Button: For these two it's a very very special day, Felipe winning the Grand Prix in his home country and then Fernando clinching the World Championship, so I've got to say a massive well done to both of them. But even for me, coming from fourteenth to third after yesterday's problems, is a great result and a perfect way to end the year, so it's been a fantastic day, probably one of the most enjoyable races I've had, fighting my way through the field. It wasn't just done on pit stops or from people stopping.

I guess we have to ask the question where you might have finished had you not had that problem yesterday?
JB: Yeah, we couldn't have challenged Felipe, they were very very fast, but second was definitely possible. You could see by the pace. Obviously Fernando was controlling the pace and I couldn't do anything about that. They were very quick in a straight line but I've got to say a big well done to all the boys. After yesterday's problem, they've kept strong and we've come away with another podium. It's a good result considering how bad it looked before.

Felipe, the championships have gone to Fernando, Renault and Michelin on a day that Ferrari and Bridgestone were resoundingly fast again, and you won that race. Your thoughts about the team this year, about Michael and about that irony about Ferrari winning on a Renault-Michelin day.
FM: For sure they deserve it. They had a fantastic beginning to the championship and that was definitely the key to control the end of the championship. But in the same away, I think we deserve it as well. We did a fantastic job, not at the beginning of the championship but after we put everything together. We just made a very very strong car, a very very strong team and we deserved it as well, so everything is written, how it has to be. Well done to Renault, Michelin as well, and Fernando well done. But that's the way it is. I think our team did a fantastic job and well done to everybody inside the team because we really worked hard and we deserved it as well.

And driving this season alongside Michael Schumacher…
FM: It's just fantastic for me. Michael is really a friend, a very special guy for me. He was always positive about me, he always wanted to have me in the team and for me, for sure I will miss him, even if it was also an opportunity for me to stay in the team, because he retired, but I will miss him because he's just a fantastic person and he's very special for me.

Press Conference

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