As the new World Champion sat patiently responding to the queries after the Post Race Press Conference, a Red shirted indivisual stepped up and with a smiling face embraced his successor. He just said well done, you deserve it, you have done a great season this year. The torch of the World Champion was finally handed over by Michael Schumacher to Fernando Alonso.
Also, recently before the closing of the 2005 season, retired three-times F1 title holder Niki Lauda, hailed Alonso as:
“perfect, the most complete performer in Formula One today and thoroughly deserving of becoming the 2005 world champion. Yet I also have to say that Alonso is extraordinary. The more pressure he has the better he drives. I’ve never seen any driver of that age so completely composed and consistent. OK, so he made one slip at Montreal [when he hit the wall] but, speaking for myself, I reckon that I would have made many more mistakes if I’d been in that position at that age. I cannot find a single weakness in Alonso from any viewpoint. He’s obviously a huge asset to the Renault team but more importantly a huge asset to the sport as a whole. I think he is perfect.”
It took Alonso only a few seconds to get as emotional as anybody has ever seen him. He climbed onto the car and punched his fists in the air and screamed “Toma!”, What does ‘Toma’ mean? it simply means “Come on! Have it”. The word echoed through the night. He picked up the Spanish Flag and waved it in absolute glory. For a man who had endured 71 laps of Sao Paulo he looked charged up.
Alonso then headed to the podium… after the honours were awarded, the three drivers picked up their champagne bottles and started celebrating. Alonso stopped for a second climbed on the top step and savoured the moment. He then poured the champagne into the cup from above his head and went on to drink it. This is what he said about that moment:
ï¿½In my region in Spain, the typical drink is a sidra (cider). When you drink it, you have to pour it into the glass from high in the air, and I did the same thing with the cup. It was a little bit of home to bring to Brazil.ï¿½
Flavio had disallowed anyone from making any preperations for celebrating before the race but the team improvised and the party had to be there.
Here are some of the excerpts from the first ever interview of the new champ(Post race):
Q: At what point of the race did you realise you were world champion and I know what it means but maybe a lot of people do not know what was the celebration on the podium?
FA: I realised when I crossed the line, because obviously the last two or three laps you start to hear noises from the car and everywhere because you are a bit worried about any mechanical problem but it can happen so you are really a little bit over-stressed and I think when I crossed the line I realised that everything was done and the celebration on the podium was that there is a sidra typical drink from my region and you have to put it in the glass from the air, the bottle, and I did the same thing with the cup.
Q: Fernando, how do you go from being a Minardi driver and test driver to World Champion in three years?
FA: It was a little bit depressing at the beginning of my career because I arrived having won all the categories before Formula One and then at Minardi I was before last in all races and it was a little bit frustrating. After that I thought I was able to be in a competitive car after one year learning at Minardi but unfortunately there was no place for me at Renault so I was test driver for one year and then from 2003 to now I developed myself, my driving style, and I grew up with the team to be in this position.
Q: Fernando, how hard a competitor was Kimi, how much do you appreciate this title after beating him?
FA: It was fantastic for me and for him, the competition. I think thanks to Kimi this world title is much better for me because Michael had some problems with the Ferrari this year and to beat the McLarens and especially Kimi this year was extremely difficult. As we saw in the last part of the championship, itï¿½s impossible to win one race when they have no problems so to beat Kimi this year is probably more than Michael in the last couple of years.
Q: Do you think itï¿½s a new Alonso era in Formula One?
FA: No, I think every year every car is different and sometimes there is my name in the newspapers and sometimes it is Kimi, sometimes Button, Juan Pablo, dependingï¿½ the last three or four races people follow one driver or another driver for sure. This year was my year with no problems at all. Luck was always with me and my team really helped me a lot this year so everything came to me this year, but for sure in the next races or next year will maybe be different.
Q: Do you think the sceptics will now be convinced after your title?
FA: I donï¿½t care about the people that donï¿½t like me. Itï¿½s normal in sport; sometimes you support one driver, sometimes the other one. Itï¿½s the same to me. I always try to do my job, try to always tell the truth to everyone and sometimes in Formula One this is quite hard because we donï¿½t tell the truth maybe 50 percent of the time but I do, and sometimes people donï¿½t like what I say.
Q: Fernando, it would be interesting to hear about this: to win a World Championship with a car that is not the fastest in Formula One, you need a driver that has a lot of maturity and you are the youngest.
FA: Yes, but I also had a very good car. The first three or four races I had the best car because we were able to win races at 70 percent of the potential of the car, and from Barcelona, Monaco, I donï¿½t know what McLaren did but we were not able to win races running 100 percent of the performance. We had a good year, but as you said I won the championship not with the best car so I am really proud of what I did. And as I said before, after 21 years of experience maybe I have the maturity.
Q: In the past five years Schumacher dominated Formula One, is it special to beat the king?
FA: Yeah, everyone wants to beat Michael on the track because it is the same as beating Armstrong in the Tour de France. The first year that Michael is not racing then maybe the championship doesnï¿½t have the same value. People think maybe that with Michael on the track it was different. To beat Michael this year was really an extra happiness for me.
This is my dedication to my Champ :). I want to end this by saying a quote that Alonso reminded me after beating Schumacher to the finish line at Imola
Anybody can win on a good day and the best car. It takes a true champion to win with an average car
Check out the photo gallery of Alonso’s race to the championship
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