McLaren's Kevin Magnussen has said coming third on his Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne was "like a dream".
Magnussen, 21, became the first Danish driver to claim an F1 podium finish.
He said: "It has been the best day of my life, but I'm sure I will have even better days ahead. It feels unreal.
"It's quite a big risk to take a rookie into the team, but McLaren have never doubted me, they have given me all the support I needed and a great car."
Magnussen joined McLaren's Young Driver Programme in 2009 and had success at Formula 3 level, before becoming McLaren's development driver in 2012.
He is the son of former F1 driver Jan, and was a surprise addition to the McLaren team, replacing Mexican Sergio Perez at the end of last season.
"I'm just trying to not wake up, it all feels like a dream," added Magnussen. "To get on the podium in the first race of my career feels quite surreal.
"The car was so much better than it has been and the preparation we have done has been fantastic, so congratulations to the team for doing such a good job."
German Nico Rosberg won in his Mercedes, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finishing second in his home grand prix, but McLaren lead the Constructors' Championship as Britain's Jenson Button also came fourth.
McLaren's chief executive officer Ron Dennis was happy with his team's performance and praised Magnussen.
"It's a big step to put a commitment behind a driver and put him in a grand prix car," said Dennis. "No matter what his form's been there is a risk, but I don't think there is any question he has delivered more than expected.
"Mainly because of his attitude, and not making mistakes, he's done a great job."
McLaren had a poor campaign in 2013, not earning a single podium finish, and Button, a world champion in 2009, challenged the team to improve further.
"It has been a long time since we led the Constructors' Championship. It's a really good feeling," said Button.
"You always want more, but this is a good starting point. We are not leading because we are quickest, we are leading because we got both cars home relatively quickly.
"We are a long way behind Mercedes, now we have to improve the car for the next race and go for the win."
Magnussen was not the only debutant to impress in Melbourne, as Russia's Daniil Kyvat finished 10th in his Toro Rosso.
Kyvat, at 19 years 10 months and 18 days, becomes the youngest driver to ever score points in Formula 1, beating a record held by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Toro Rosso only finished in the top 10 twice in the last seven races of 2013, but Kyvat has already won them their first point in 2014.
But one of the best performances of the first race came from Finland's Valtteri Bottas.
The Williams driver finished 10th fastest in qualifying, but suffered a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change to start 15th on the grid.
However, he came sixth overall, despite needing to change his right-rear wheel, which he broke when he clipped a wall at Turn 10 on the 11th lap.
"I'm a little disappointed with myself because I was pushing a bit too hard and hit the wall, which caused a puncture and put me back a long way," said Bottas.
"I spent the rest of the race trying to make up for that mistake and managed to make some good overtakes, but I need to learn from this and make sure it doesn't happen again.
"We should have finished higher than we did with the pace we had."