Alonso pays tribute to Schumacher
|Sunday, October 22nd 2006, 19:08 GMT|
World champion Fernando Alonso paid homage to rival Michael Schumacher following the German's final Formula One race in Brazil.
Renault driver Alonso won his second successive title on Sunday after finishing second in a Brazilian Grand Prix won by Ferrari's local favourite Felipe Massa.
Schumacher, in the final race of his career, showed all his grit and determination to go from last to fourth after a ninth-lap puncture crippled his challenge for victory.
Alonso 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, 10 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.
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore also paid tribute 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 told RAI television. "He was flying. I don't know what he had but he was literally flying.
"We've won a difficult championship against an extrememly difficult rival, Ferrari, so congratulations to them too for keeping the title open even too much."