VALENCIA, Spain, June 24, 2012 (AFP) - Michael Schumacher was over-joyed to be back on the podium after finishing third for Mercedes in Sunday's thrilling European Grand Prix.
It was the seven-times champion's first podium since his controversial return to the sport in 2010, and 155th of his career.
The 43-year-old became the oldest podium finisher since Australian Jack Brabham, in 1970, when he was 44.
The elated German, who has already retired from five of the first seven races this season, admitted the result had come as a shock to him as he did not think a podium finish was on the cards.
This may have been true had frontrunners Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean of Lotus not retired from the race.
However, that should take nothing away from the veteran's performance who worked his way up the field from 12th position whilst fending off rival Mark Webber of Red Bull to take third behind race-winner Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.
Schumacher admitted he did not know what position he had finished before his team congratulated him over the radio.
"I didn't think about a podium at all. I asked my guys at the end of the race where I finished and when they told me third, I couldn't believe it," he said.
"You lose count of where you are, it was busy at the end of the race!"
He added: "It is those moments that definitely you enjoy deeply and it's just a wonderful feeling to be back after such a long time,"
"But that is what I am here for, to be excited, hearing finally the message P3 is a sweet finish to an unexpected race."
His Mercedes team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg was also in good spirits after finishing sixth. He said: "It felt like I was going to finish 15th at one point, so I am pleased with sixth.
"It was a difficult race and it was a great call for strategy at the end. It gave me many positions. Tyre temperature and degradation was key today, it was such a challenge to get it right."