Dream start for BMW

Team boss Frank Williams said he was delighted and astonished to see one of his cars take BMW' to third place in their return to Grand Prix racing

Dream start for BMW

And Gerhard Berger saluted Ralf Schumacher after Williams-BMW astounded the world with an appearance on the podium in their first race.

"Williams and BMW are just delighted and astonished," said Frank Williams.

"I don't believe, without checking, that any other engine supplier or manufacturer has got on the podium for their first race unless you go back to Cosworth's debut in 1967."

Rivals had predicted it could take BMW years to get on the pace in Formula One.

But it took them just 58 laps and one race to show they will be a force to be reckoned with long before that.

Schumacher was a competitive third to the two Ferrari's, notwithstanding the retirement of the two McLarens and Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan.

And teammate Jenson Button, 20, got as high as fourth on his debut before retiring with a blown engine while sixth.

"This is a dream start in Formula 1 for us," said Berger.

"We expected a good result and points after qualifying but this was far beyond our expectations.

"Obviously we expect to have other less successful days in our first season but at least it has started positively."

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