Nico Hulkenberg said he felt he had done "a hell of a job" to finish fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix after starting far down the field.

An error on his best lap in Q2 on Saturday saw Hulkenberg start from 11th place on the grid, but he made good progress to the field to finish in the top five. Although racing his team-mate Sergio Perez - who eventually finished third - for most of the race, Hulkenberg said he was not too disappointed at being unable to take his maiden podium in F1.

"I think mixed emotions," Hulkenberg said. "I would have liked to have got that podium but we need to consider where I came from and considering that I think we did a hell of a job today. In the race there was lots of fighting; it was fun but it was tough, battling I think was great from the outside to watch.

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"Today I'm probably paying a little bit for my mistake yesterday but that's life, it's Formula One. Still it's a great day for the team, I'm very happy. We collected a lot of points which is very important."

With Hulkenberg having held up the two Red Bulls for a spell late in the race, he admitted it had not been easy but helped the team's overall result.

"I probably contributed my bit as well towards the podium there, yeah. The Red Bull was so smoking fast in corners; unbelievable. Everywhere, they had tonnes of grip in the corners. Obviously they lack the power on the straights but corner speed is amazing."

After beating both Williams cars, Hulkenberg admitted he hadn't expected Force India to be the second quickest Mercedes-powered team but said it must now take full advantage.

"Williams I'm a bit surprised that they struggled as much as they did. We didn't expect that to be honest. Obviously it went well for us. Of course Mercedes is up there in a different world - let's not talk about them - but just us the car is obviously good but we have areas to work on and of course now is the time we have to maximise it, benefit from it and if we can find good gains now for the next few races that would be even better."