Lewis Hamilton said it was “nice to prove people wrong” after finished fifth in his first race for Mercedes in Australia.
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes drew mixed responses when it was announced in September last year.
Hamilton said: “It has been everyone, particularly all the ex-drivers, a lot of them commenting and saying that it was the worst decision ever, saying: ‘he’s going to finish nowhere, they are going to be nowhere’.
“And then they contradicted themselves, going the other way, they don’t know what they are talking about.”
Among the elder statesmen of British motor racing to question Hamilton’s decision was Stirling Moss, who raced for the team in 1955.
“Personally I don’t think it was too clever to leave McLaren but we’ll see,” said Moss in October.
“When I had the chance back then I grabbed it because I thought they were the best team at the time. Nowadays I think other teams are better.”
In January three-time world champion Jackie Stewart said Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes was “a risk”.
“McLaren are in the business of Formula One. Major carmakers come and go. There’s a risk if the Silver Arrows are not successful, it’s just a five-minute board decision [to cancel the program].”
Hamilton lined up third on the grid for his Mercedes debut, behind the Red Bulls. His former team McLaren’s cars lined up tenth and fifteenth.
EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.
NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.
Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.
So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks
2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads
Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.
MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.
MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup
MORE: Stage 13 wrapup
MORE: Stage 12 wrapup
MORE: Stage 11 wrapup
MORE: Stage 10 wrapup
MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions
MORE: Stage 8 wrapup
MORE: Stage 7 wrapup
MORE: Stage 6 wrapup
MORE: Stage 5 wrapup
MORE: Stage 4 wrapup
MORE: Stage 3 wrapup
MORE: Stage 2 wrapup
MORE: Stage 1 wrapup