Michael Schumacher said that he did not expect to get a podium today in Valencia at any point during the race, and did not know of his third place until after he took the chequered flag.
The German started the European Grand Prix from twelfth place and fought his way through the field during the course of an eventful afternoon to claim his first podium finish since China 2006.
“Wow, I did not even think of getting on the podium for any second in the race today, so what a wonderful result!” exclaimed the seven-time world champion. “Finally it happened! After such a long time waiting and for jumping on the podium so unexpectedly, I feel extra happy. I think that was the best answer to give to everybody who started doubting our work: get the car together and fight back; never give up, as anything can happen.
“A big thank you to the team and to everybody who kept on believing we would get on the podium again. That’s what team work is about. A special word for my mechanics and engineers who have done a fantastic job this weekend after some difficult races this year.
“I didn’t think a podium was possible – not even at the end of the race, because it was pretty busy in the last laps and I had lost count of where I was. Then when I crossed the line, I asked the guys where I was and they said “Third – on the podium!”
“It’s one of those moments that you enjoy deeply as a driver. We were close a couple of times but it was great for it to happen in a spectacular race like this, through strategy and lots of passing on a circuit where overtaking is difficult.”
Schumacher’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg started sixth and finished sixth, but was still reasonably happy with his afternoon.
“That was a really exciting race,” said the German. “I had a bad first few laps and lost positions, then the Safety Car came out at a bad moment for me. After the restart, I thought I would end up finishing out of the points, because I had the oldest tyres and therefore no grip, which made it very hard to defend.
“We had planned to try a one-stop strategy but had to convert to two stops, and thanks to the strategy guys, we were on fresh tyres when everybody else was struggling. I was in P12 on lap 47 and P6 at the end, so it clearly worked and we are very happy with a good team result after such a chaotic race, with two cars in the top six.
“A great result for Michael with his podium and I am happy to score some more nice points.”
Team principal Ross Brawn congratulated both drivers, and the wider team, on the result they achieved today.
“Congratulations to Michael and the team on a fantastic and well-deserved podium finish,” he said. “Michael demonstrated today that if we can give him the opportunities, he will get a great result. And well done to Nico as well. He was in quite a difficult position at one stage but came back and gave the team a really strong points score today.
“The early part of the race was quite difficult for us, and our early strategy did not come together as the tyres behaved differently to our pre-race predictions. So we had to react, and we did so extremely well, leaving our stops as late as possible to give our guys fresh rubber at the end.
“It was such an exciting end to the race, and I am very proud of both of our drivers, everyone here in Valencia, and back at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth today.”