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Lewis Hamilton recently admitted to being a man of extremes but, when assessing the performance of his new team, he has remained middle of the road.
The same cannot be said for many former Formula One drivers, who have lurched from saying Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes was a big mistake to claiming it could be the wisest decision of his career.
The pros turned pundits are, of course, entitled to their opinion. They are also entitled to change it, especially in light of McLaren’s disastrous showing in the season opener in Australia compared to Hamilton’s solid fifth place for Mercedes.
But the Briton clearly could not care one jot about their take on matters, good or bad. “It’s nice to prove people wrong,” he said. “Everyone - particularly ex-drivers, a lot of them commenting - were saying it was the worst decision ever, saying, ‘He’s going to finish nowhere, they’re going to be nowhere’.
“And then they contradicted themselves by going the other way. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re either this way or that way but it’s the bit in the middle.”
Hamilton is certainly enjoying a new lease of life at Mercedes and, by and large, his disposition has remained a great deal sunnier than when his McLaren career was in its final throes.
It is perhaps for that reason that he has already become fiercely protective of his new team. Criticism is constructive and his ambitions realistic.
“We have done a good job,” was Hamilton’s progress report after the curtain-raiser in Melbourne. “I’m really proud of my team. I’m proud of my decision as well.
“We finished fifth, we have a lot to work on. We didn’t ever come out and say, ‘We’ll kick everyone’s butt’. And we never said that we would be c**p.”
Still, Hamilton is not satisfied with just maintaining the status quo, especially as he now feels breaking into the top three of Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus is within Mercedes’ reach.
“I don’t think they have that big a gap on us,” said the 28-year-old. “We could have done better. Our understanding of the tyres is much better, they had a lot taken out of them during the race. For the next race we’ll be much stronger.
“Moving forward, I hope there are many more positives to come. So it’s satisfying for me and for the team. They’re such hungry people, so hungry.”
Such is Hamilton’s enthusiasm that he is even looking forward to a hectic week of sponsor commitments before Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. The country’s petrochemical giant Petronas, a Mercedes title sponsor, will certainly want their pound of flesh.
Nothing, it seems, can dull Hamilton’s enthusiasm. Not the PR engagements, the less-than-perfect strategy calls or the opinions of those who have gone before him in F1. -Daily Mail