Lewis Hamilton believes a podium finish in Bahrain was the very best his Mercedes team could have hoped for after he capitalised on Red Bull woes to join Ferrari in the top three.
Hamilton has struggled to show competitive pace ever since arriving in Bahrain ahead of the new season and qualified in fifth behind both Ferrari and Red Bull cars on Saturday.
The race day told a similar story, with Hamilton sliding quickly back to fifth after overtaking Sergio Perez on lap one and fighting to keep pace with the leading pack.
But when Red Bull were hit with apparent engine problems during the final laps, Hamilton was on hand to breeze past both Perez and 2021 title rival Max Verstappen.
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Hamilton: There is a long, long way to go
"It was such a difficult race," Hamilton said below the podium.
"We struggled throughout practice and this is really the best result we could have gotten - and, of course, it was unfortunate for the other two drivers - but we did the best we could, and we're grateful for these points."
When asked if he is keen to see upgrades on his car for next weekend's Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton replied: "I'm hoping; I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory.
"It's not going to be a quick turnaround [with upgrades], but we all know, as a team... I do feel that we've been the best-unified team for so long.
"I know that we all know to just keep our heads down and keep working. There's a long, long way to go."
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