Lewis Hamilton was delighted to salvage fifth in Bahrain after early race problems
Mercedes driver had mysterious lack of pace in opening exchanges
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 21/04/13 7:03pm
After lining up ninth on the grid with the ambition of making steady inroads towards the frontrunners, Hamilton instead went backwards off the line to become a peripheral figure in the early stages of the grand prix and still looked unlikely to claim a points-finish at the half-way stage.
However, a late surge saw the 2008 title winner propel his W04 past both McLarens - despite saying it felt "surreal" to be in opposition to his former team before the race - and then snatch fifth out of Mark Webber's grasp with just a few laps remaining.
"I'm very, very happy, massively happy just because the race started out so badly. I wanted to make a great start and instead I had a terrible start and then I was just so slow," a mystified Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
"I was nowhere and had no speed at all. There was nothing I could do because no matter what I did to the car it wouldn't go any faster and the gap was growing in front. Then all of a sudden something happened after the second pit-stop and the car started to react differently and I was able to push because I had grip again.
"It must have been something that happened to the car after qualifying when we changed gearbox and something wasn't set right and then went back to being set right because all of a sudden the car was amazing.
"It was great to do some overtaking, I am so grateful for the result."
The result leaves Hamilton third in the World Championship standings and in far better shape than many expected he would be during his first season at Mercedes.
"The team have done a great job over the first four races," concluded Hamilton. "Onwards and upwards."