SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Slapped with penalties before Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton knew they had to put in a strong showing just to remain in the top 10. They both managed it, barely.
Hamilton has struggled all week with his Mercedes but finished a surprising fourth on Saturday, only to be placed ninth on the grid after receiving a five-place penalty on the grid for a gear box change ahead of qualifying.
"It wasn't the best of days for me but big congratulations to Nico," Hamilton said of his teammate Nico Rosberg, who took pole position.
"Back to back pole positions for the team is great and Nico did a really good job out there," he said. "I couldn't quite find the pace today and with losing five places from changing the gear box, we've got a tough challenge starting from ninth place. These things happen and I'll do my best tomorrow."
Webber, meanwhile, was fifth fastest but will start seventh after the Red Bull driver was penalized for colliding with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne in an incident that ultimately ended his race in China last weekend.
"I would have like to have got a bit more out of the car in that session and been a bit further up, but seventh with a penalty isn't the end of the world," he said. "We have a different tire strategy to some of the others and it's a long grand prix."
The race will be a landmark for Webber, his 200th grand prix.
"I'm proud. When I was a youngster arriving in Formula One, I never thought I would be in the sport for so long," Webber said. "I still enjoy it a lot. It's another number, but it would be good to get a good result to mark it."
Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez also will start at the back of the grid, after being penalized five places for crashing into the rear of Adrian Sutil's Force India in China. It is the latest disappointment for the Mexican driver who came to Sauber with a lot of promise but has so far not finished higher than 12th.