Lewis Hamilton lamented radio issues with his Mercedes team at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but accepted his third-place finish represented "damage limitation".

The Formula One world champion posted the fourth-fastest time in qualifying on Saturday, but a five-place grid penalty meant he started the race ninth.

Hamilton battled his way to a podium finish despite struggling to communicate with the pits due to apparent interference on the radio, as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel held off Valtteri Bottas to make it two wins from two races.

"I'm happy. Congratulations to Sebastian [Vettel], and Valtteri did an exceptional job this weekend," Hamilton said.

"I'm really happy. I started ninth so third is not bad at all. It's damage limitation.

"There were frustrating points in the race so they [the pit wall] couldn't hear me so I had to pick particular moments to speak to them.

"Communication is really difficult when you are trying to catch Sebastian, who is 25 seconds ahead, to know exactly what you need to do to not kill your tyres but make it so you catch him at the end.

"When you're not getting that feedback it's frustrating."

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff accepted the team did not do enough over the weekend, and vowed there will be an improvement for the next race in China.

"With a two and three we have to be happy after yesterday," he told Sky Sports.

"We need to stay humble, we were not great on Friday and Saturday. The heat is not something we like, the track surface is not good for us. We will come back strong in China, hopefully."

Wolff also commented on the coming together between Hamilton and Max Verstappen on lap two, which led to the latter's retirement.

"It was a racing incident. Max dived in on the inside, a good move, bit aggressive pushing Hamilton out but I think most drivers would have done that," he added.