|© AP Photo/Brandon Malone
Lewis Hamilton was glad “to prove people wrong” that his decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes was after all not a bad one – particularly after the results in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Critics suggested that the move from a world championship winning team to the struggling German manufacturer could cost the Briton not only several race victories but also a shot at the title.
"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',” Hamilton was quoted saying by Reuters.
"And then they contradicted themselves, going the other way... they don't know what they are talking about," he pointed out.
In Melbourne, it was evident that McLaren has got its car wrong and that Mercedes had the potential to compete at the front. Hamilton qualified third on the grid while ex-teammate Jenson Button was tenth and his McLaren teammate Sergio Perez in a lowly 15th.
In Sunday’s race, Hamilton went backwards but earned ten points, while Button scored just two and Perez remained outside the top ten.
"We finished fifth, we have a lot to work on,” the 28-year-old was quoted by the Daily Mail. “We didn’t ever come out and say, ‘We’ll kick everyone’s butt’. And we never said that we would be crap.”
Moving away from the restrictions at Woking has been another bonus for the 2008 world champion, pointing out that McLaren was “very strict about what you can and cannot wear at the track"
"Now, I can wear my jeans with my team T-shirt rather than all this corporate gear. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable in that stuff," he said in his column on the BBC website.
Hamilton added that as a child he was inspired by the hip-hop culture and he chose to attire and express himself accordingly.
“I had the baggiest clothes and wore basketball jerseys, bandanas, baseball caps and a chain. I was real swagged out,” he wrote.
“I remember when I first went to McLaren. I had my big baggy shirt and jeans on and got a few dodgy looks. I thought I had to change to be accepted and fit the way people wanted me to be perceived,” he recalled. “Now, I feel like I am slowly able to come out of my shell a bit and be myself.”