Whilst congratulating Jenson Button and Brawn GP on their staggering Australian Grand prix success in Melbourne last weekend, Martin Whitmarsh has sought to stress that the ex-Honda F1 outfit would likely not have been on the starting grid Down Under at all had it not been for McLaren-Mercedes' help and support.

With reigning Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton ultimately being promoted to third place in the final reckoning following Jarno Trulli's penalty for his safety car indiscretion, each and every one of the top three drivers in the Albert Park classification was powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine.

Hamilton had joked in a post-practice press conference that the German powerplant was just about the only good thing about McLaren's troubled MP4-24, and indeed the extra power by relation to the Honda engine that had been in the back of the car last year almost certainly played a part in the Brackley-based squad's triumph too.

McLaren team principal Whitmarsh revealed that he was pleased to see the new Mercedes 'customer' team do so well - even if the performance did substantially overshadow the Woking-based concern's own low-key showing.

"It was a great result," the 50-year-old acknowledged. "Jenson and Brawn GP did a great job - they are the class of the field at the moment, and congratulations to them. It was great for Mercedes too, and certainly better than BMW winning I'm sure from their perspective!

"I think if you speak to them (Brawn), we put a lot of effort into getting them here, and it's also a testament to what FOTA (the Formula One Teams' Association) can do to keep teams in Formula 1. All power to them; they've done a good job.

"Brawn have done a fantastic job for 16 months developing that car - it's a great strategy - but we were away fighting the championship. It's a competitive sport and we've got to beat everyone."