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Mark Webber after claiming third place in Monaco Grand Prix

Unhappy ... Mark Webber (Getty Images)

Third place not good enough for Webber

Australian Mark Webber finally stepped up to the Formula One podium overnight after a three-year wait.

His third place for Williams in Monaco, his 56th race, was the best result by an Australian in 24 years, since former world champion Alan Jones won the 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Yet, even though Webber had finally laid to rest the bugbear of never finishing higher than the fifth place he took with Minardi on his debut in Melbourne in 2002, he was far from overjoyed.

With German team-mate Nick Heidfeld crossing the line ahead of him in second place, Webber knew he could have done better after qualifying third on the grid.

He made his feelings clear with an ironic reply to a question about how frustrated he felt.

"Not at all, I am happy to get beaten by him," he said. "Of course I'm disappointed. It's not bad to get a podium, it is a great day for the team today, it's a reasonable day for me but I could have had a better result."

Once again, as has been a regular feature this season, the Australian made a poor start and lost two places into the first corner.

"The start was a joke, it was very frustrating that I didn't get away at all, the clutch didn't really work at all, so that was a shame," he said.

Patrick Head, the team's co-owner and head of engineering, said the driver was not to blame even though Heidfeld got away cleanly.

"One big thing is we have got to learn to get off the line better because it doesn't matter where we qualify if we can't get off the line well," said Head.

"I think here it was a setting problem but there are other problems associated with it so both BMW and ourselves are working on it."

Head was pleased that Webber had finally made the breakthrough.

"I think it'll be very good for Mark," he said.

"Obviously, there's a little bit of annoyance in him that his team mate, that he was quicker than all weekend, ended up finishing ahead of him but that was really just down to the order of pitstops and things," Head said.

"The main thing is just to get it behind him, get his first podium and get on with trying to get to the top step of the podium."

Williams called Heidfeld in for his second stop earlier than planned and did the same for Webber, who lost a place to his team-mate in the process.

-Reuters

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