Lewis Hamilton says he was hugely encouraged by his debut for Mercedes last weekend, despite some tyre issues in the race.
Hamilton said he had a balance problem in the opening stint – when he ran a surprisingly long 13 laps on the supersoft tyres – and in trying to compensate for it with a set-up change the team overdid it, which made his life difficult on the mediums later in the race. Nevertheless overall the weekend turned out better than he had anticipated.
“To be honest it was not the easiest of weekends, with the weather coming in and out,” said in Malaysia today. “Obviously it was a new experience for me with the new team, with the new engineers. It was new for them working with me as well. It was all up in the air and we were just trying to catch the balls as much as we could.
“We were strong in a lot of good places, and I really don’t feel that we extracted the most from the car. So coming here I feel really positive and optimistic about the weekend.”
Hamilton’s good mood was encouraged by the fact that he started third and finished fifth despite things not really coming together properly.
“That’s why I was so positive after the race. I thought I feel really positive about the car, I feel really positive about the team, now they are moving very, very fast in terms of developing the car, in terms of learning how I like to work, and I think I’m learning quite quickly how they like to work.
“Of course we could have done things better, but it was our first race together, and it doesn’t matter how much you prepare for it, you can’t prepare perfectly for a race, it’s not until you do a race that you really get an experience to know how you all work together.
“I came away from there with 10 points, and I feel really happy with 10 points, because when I made the switch I didn’t know where we would be, and I definitely didn’t think I’d come away from the first race with 10 points. And also with the feeling that that’s not just going to be a lucky shot in the first race, it’s something we can try to continue for the rest of the year.
“You see the other top teams, they’re really good at developing the car and moving forward very fast, I think that’s something the team is learning to do, and I’m seeing it coming through.”