Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has described his fifth place finish in the 2013 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix as 'good damage limitation'.

The Briton was always going to be on the back-foot heading into the fourth race of the season after a gearbox penalty dropped him from fourth on the grid to ninth.

Despite that though, and despite struggling in his first two stints, he was able to fight back as the temperatures declined and near the end enjoyed a good tussle with Mark Webber for P5.

"I'm really happy with our result today," said the Mercedes driver. "It's been a tough weekend for us but we got through it and finishing in fifth place was some good damage limitation.

"My race didn't start well at all. I was looking after the tyres but I really struggled on the first two stints and was falling back. But as the temperatures dropped, the car picked up and then I had the grip that I needed to push and close the gap.

"I had so much fun fighting with Mark at the end. We really needed that point and I was so determined to get by. It was good, clean wheel-to-wheel racing."

Hamilton now moves up to third and ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Drivers' Championship with 50 points on the board, 3 more than his Spanish rival and 27 less than the current leader, Sebastian Vettel.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved over the first four races and to be third in the Drivers' Championship is beyond any of our expectations," Lewis added.

"But we've got to keep pushing and find more performance. We're hanging on by the skin of our teeth at the moment [in terms of the Drivers' title race]. But if we can make that next step then we can close the gap," he predicted.