Daniil Kvyat says he feels like he has “lost the chains” of his difficult first period in Formula 1 with his podium in Sunday’s .

The Russian, 25, was sacked from the programme at the end of 2017 but re-signed by junior team this year.

He said: “It was sometimes tough and I thought maybe F1 was over for me.

“But life just proves if you work hard and never give up, things are possible.”

He added: “These three difficult years just felt like they crashed from my shoulders, finally.”

Kvyat was running out of the points for much of a topsy-turvey, incident-strewn race in wet-dry conditions at Hockenheim, but a late choice to fit slick tyres saw him jump from ninth place to third.

It was Kvyat’s first podium since the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix, when he was driving for .

The race after that, his home event in Russia, Kvyat was involved in a first-corner crash with Vettel – his second in two races – and was then demoted back to in a swap for , who was the winner in on Sunday.

After a difficult season and a half for , Kvyat was dropped by the team after crashing out of the 2017 , reinstated for the two races later when the team found themselves without a driver, and then dropped from the programme altogether.

But after a year as development driver in 2018, Kvyat was re-signed by for because they had run out of drivers in their junior programme to promote.

Kvyat said of the race in : “It was a horror movie with a black comedy. At some point I thought the race was done for me, but then it came alive again, it was an incredible rollercoaster. A bit like my whole career!”

He added: “It was an incredible few years in my life. Maybe I thought, especially a podium, I would never ever have it again. But life just proves that if you work hard and never give up, things are possible. I think that’s exactly what happened. Even the race was tough for everyone, I managed to keep cool.

“It was hard work to reach this moment and hopefully I can send the message out there that I’m ready now to fight for this kind of moment on a consistent basis – and there is no stronger message than a podium like this.”

It was only the second podium in the history of – after Vettel’s victory in the 2008 . And in a good race for the team, Kvyat’s team-mate, the Anglo-Thai rookie Alexander Albon, took sixth.

Albon, who was born in London to an English father and Thai mother and races under a Thai flag, said: “I’m really happy with myself, I’m happy with the team. I think the team did an unbelievable job. Every strategy call we did was the right one on both cars.

“We were running in the top five and I thought: ‘This really is our pace. We weren’t losing out to the guys in front and the guys behind were dropping back so I was really, really happy with how it was going. And I thought three-quarters through the race as long as we just finish where we are we’re sorted.

“Unfortunately there was a restart. I got caught with Le – the last person I expected! I didn’t want to overtake him but I was kind of forced in a position that I had to try it. And we lost a bit of ground and of course the guys on the slick tyres undercut us quite severely.

“But to be honest it’s a weird feeling. It’s a slightly disappointing sixth position.”