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Alonso's second win 'hard to believe'

Japanese Grand Prix race winner Fernando Alonso has described his second successive race win of 2008 as 'difficult to believe' after paying tribute to his improved Renault team

The former double-world champion, who took both his titles with the team in 2005-06, scored an opportunistic victory in Fuji after first-corner controversy between Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen allowed Robert Kubica and the Spaniard to move to the front and fight for the lead from the first lap.

Alonso and Renault then took a typically characteristic gamble and pitted early for the second stint, allowing them to jump ahead of Kubica in the pitstops and race to an unexpected second win of the season.

"It's difficult to believe," said Alonso afterwards. "Obviously the Singapore win was completely unexpected after a very sad Saturday coming from retirement in qualifying.

"Okay I won with special conditions with the safety car, but today we had nothing and we won again and at a circuit that is not particularly good for our characteristics. I cannot believe it right now, back-to-back wins.

"The team did a great job to improve the car and we are right now behind Ferrari and McLaren and this is something is completely amazing."

The 27-year-old, who has moved up to seventh in the championship with 48 points by dint of his Japanese win, admitted that the first corner mix-up between the McLaren and Ferrari drivers put him in an unexpectedly strong position.

"The start was probably the most exciting part of the race for sure, I saw the people in front of me going quite aggressive into Turn 1," he explained. "Even myself I locked the front tyres and went a little bit wide. These cold tyres surprised us, we locked up and everyone went long.

"I took the benefit of that and put myself behind Robert and from this point the race was easier. From then we had some free air. The car was very, very nice to drive again, I pulled a nice gap and maybe part of the victory was because of the second stint.

"Obviously we were P2 when we stopped for the first time, I asked the team if we could manage to exit the pits in front of Robert because I wanted some free air," Alonso added. "So they had to do less fuel.

"The problem is that you have to open gap in second stint and sometimes you can do it and sometimes not, but today the car was perfect and I was able to do it."

Alonso added that back-to-back victories was a reflection of the re-energised approach from the Renault team, who are bidding to maintain his services for 2009 despite a lucrative offer from Honda.

"[The attitude in the team feels] more or less similar to 2006, but then we had the championship battle so everyone was more concentrated on getting points than going to the limits," he said. "We keep learning about the new regulations, the new electronics. We have improved quite a lot the management of the tyres in the race pace and long runs so we understood the problems at the beginning of the season.

"We concentrate to work on those areas and now the results are coming with improvements in the season.

"I am very happy and very proud of my team to have the key to improve all the problems we had. It is a great job from everybody in the factory."

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