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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.