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Grapevine: Renault Man Enjoys Podium Visit

Renault's chief mechanic Jonathan Wheatley was a happy man after he got the unique chance to climb onto the French Grand Prix podium to pick the winner's trophy

Wheatley joined Renault's race winner Fernando Alonso in order to pick up the trophy for the winning constructor after the French team scored their first home victory in 22 years.

It was Wheatley's first time on the podium.

"It was a fantastic experience," said Wheatley. "It was not something I ever thought I would get to see. Then, on the last lap, Flavio [Briatore] called me over and asked me to go to the podium to collect the trophy for the team.

"It was a fantastic gesture, and I've already had over thirty text messages from my friends."

Briton Wheatley was also joined on the podium by World Champion Michael Schumacher, with whom he had worked before at the Benetton team.

The German driver soaked Wheatley in champagne.

"I was number 2 mechanic on Michael Schumacher's car when he won the title in 1994 and 1995," Wheatley added. "He looked at me, amused, and said: 'Is this your first time on the podium?' I said: 'Yes, how about you?' He laughed and said, 'I've done it a few times before'."

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