SEPANG, Malaysia, March 25, 2012 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton was happy to crack a smile about his third place at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday -- a week after glowering on the podium when he finished in the same spot in Australia.
The McLaren driver, whose early-year consistency has earned him second place in the standings behind Fernando Alonso but ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, said he was glad to have placed well in the chaotic, rain-affected race.
"I wouldn't say I was happy with third. I can never be happy with going backwards (from pole position) but it's really just due to the conditions," he said.
"Those two guys in front did a better job and today was just really trying to keep the car on the track and bring home some points and I did."
Hamilton came out of the first corner with the lead and he remained in front until a 51-minute suspension for a torrential downpour threw the race into confusion.
Hamilton emerged in third position but he was unable to gain on the leading pair of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. However, he said he was satisfied after starting the year with two third-place finishes.
"The goal is always to try and be on the podium and stay consistent and so far I'm doing that," he said.
"But of course I would like to be a little bit higher up so I'm going to try and focus on my race pace for the next race and see if I can convert a good position to a better result."
Button also had to smile after a dismal day in which he ploughed into the back of Narain Karthikeyan, dropped to the back of the field and never fully recovered.
"I can't do anything than smile, really. It was that bad. But next race I'm sure will be much better," said Button, who won last week's season-opener in Australia.
"It's one of those tough afternoons. Everything spiralled out of control, really," he added.