Hamilton happy to prove Mercedes critics wrong

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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.