'Fifth way better than expected' - Hamilton

Mercedes AMG F1 Team

17 March 2013 by TF1T Staff

Lewis Hamilton was thrilled to finish fifth on his first outing as a Mercedes driver after playing down their chances of fighting with the top teams.

Whilst the 2008 champion finished 40-seconds behind eventual winner Kimi Raikkonen, he says the result far exceeded his initial expectation.

"I think it's great, I'm really happy," he said with a smile. "I think it's way better than we probably ever expected in the first race of the season so it's a good place to start.

"We didn't expect to have such a competitive car. Some people will be like, 'Oh, it wasn't great' but I think fifth's good.

"The car was feeling really good so I don't really know how the other guys were pulling away so quickly but we will keep pushing and hopefully we'll get there eventually."

He will now sit down with his engineers to analysis where they were losing time to their rivals in an attempt to improve - which he expects to do at the next race in Malaysia.

"We're going to have to go back and try and figure out why we were losing time to other people but I think the guys have done a fantastic job for us to have the pace that we did. I just don't know where we lost out so we're going to have to go back and look at it," he added.

"I think we'll have a good race in Malaysia."