Hamilton 'ecstatic' after dream debut

Briton Lewis Hamilton labelled his maiden Formula One Grand Prix as fantastic after clinching a podium finish in his first attempt

Hamilton 'ecstatic' after dream debut

The rookie completed a sensational debut weekend by leading the race for four laps and then going on to finish in third place behind world champion teammate Fernando Alonso.

"It has been fantastic," admitted a delighted Hamilton. "To lead my first GP was a fantastic feeling. I had Fernando behind me for a long time and it's pretty tough when you have a two-time champion behind you, especially in the first race.

"The team has done a fantastic job, not just here but at the factory, they have been great. I don't know what happened at the second stop, the stop went fine but the backmarkers were quite tough.

"I was ecstatic and I still am. To be in my first GP, all the hard work has paid off. I am happy for myself and also the team. A great starting point and a great foundation for the rest of the season.

"I think this is probably beyond my dreams. To be in F1 is a dream, but to go in your first race and have a third is something that you don't expect."

Hamilton became Formula One's 55th driver to score points in his first race, and the first driver to reach the podium on his debut since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996.

The 22-year-old led teammate Alonso for a big part of the race after jumping ahead of the Spaniard at the start.

"I got a pretty decent start," he said. "I think we got the same start, the BMWs were quick off the grid and Kubica got me. I thought there was no way to stay inside so I went left and managed to outbrake everyone and get a couple of places."

Hamilton lost out to Alonso during the second round of pitstops, the Briton losing a gap of nearly two seconds when he found Takuma Sato in front just before diving into the pits.

"Fernando was quick and I had to push as hard as I could. I was coming up on backmarkers and they were blue flagged but very late, when I was right on their tail, but then they didn't move over.

"The only chance to stay ahead of Fernando was to overtake a backmarker and then he got stuck, but it didn't happen."

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