Michael Schumacher believes he has finally answered his critics with his first podium in 48 races.
In a chaotic European Grand Prix, Schumacher grabbed a surprise third place behind winner Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
Not since the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix had Schumacher clambered on to the podium, but after three years in retirement and two and a half years of struggle with Mercedes, this felt especially sweet.
"I did not even think of getting on the podium for a second, so what a wonderful result," said Schumacher, who prior to Sunday had collected a miserable two points from the opening seven races.
"Finally it happened. After such a long time waiting I feel extra happy.
"That was the best answer to everybody doubting our work - get the car together, fight back and never give up as anything can happen.
"A big thank you to the team, to everybody who kept on believing we would get on the podium again. That's what team work is about.
"But I didn't think it was possible - not even at the end of the race because it was pretty busy in the last laps and I lost track of where I was.
"When I crossed the line I asked the guys where I was and they said "Third - on the podium!" It's one of those moments you enjoy deeply as a driver.
"We were close a couple of times, but it was great for it to happen in a spectacular race like this, through strategy and lots of passing on a circuit where overtaking is difficult."
Schumacher was also aided by the retirements of Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton, who were all on course for a podium place of their own until problems struck.
But given his own issues this season, retiring four times due to mechanical failures, Schumacher deserved his good fortune.
Team principal Ross Brawn said: "It's a fantastic and well-deserved podium finish.
"Michael demonstrated if we can give him the opportunities, he will get a great result."