Lewis Hamilton finished his debut race at the Australian Grand Prix on the third step of the podium, after a massively impressive weekend driving with McLaren. Securing a drive with McLaren was testament to his abilities as a driver, and he rewarded the Woking outfits confidence in him with a strong drive, in which he almost eclipsed his Double World Champion team-mate.
“It has been a fantastic day for me, to lead in my first grand prix was an amazing feeling. I had Fernando behind me for a long time, and it is extremely tough when you have a two-time world champion behind you, especially in your first race.”
Hamilton led Alonso until his second pit stop, only for Takuma Sato to hold up the 22 year-old on his way to the pit lane, allowing his team-mate to capitalise.
“A bit unfortunate really in the second stop, I don’t know what happened there, I think the stop went fine, but coming up on backmarkers was pretty tough.”
“It was all a new experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got a pretty decent start, but the BMWs seemed to be extremely quick off the grid and Robert Kubica passed me. There was no way for me to stay on the inside so I thought I would dice back to the left and managed to out-brake near enough everyone.”
“I managed to gain a couple of places and from there it went pretty smoothly. It’s extremely intense, you’ve got to make sure you make no mistakes, and sure I did make a couple of them in this run, but it is just another new experience.”
“I’m ecstatic to be here. A podium in my first race. I couldn’t be more happy.”
Meanwhile, speaking to ITV, McLaren Team Principle Ron Dennis described Hamilton’s debut as “an outstanding first Grand Prix” and “a really deserved third place”. Ron has groomed Hamilton for a career in F1 for eleven years, after the young Brit introduced himself to Dennis at the 1994 Autosport Awards in London. The 59 year-old said he felt proud of Lewis’s achievements this weekend, especially given how he competed against Alonso, who had a more favourable race strategy.