Lewis Hamilton finished his first race for Mercedes AMG in fifth place today whilst team-mate Nico Rosberg had to retire his car following an electrical problem on lap 27. Overall it was a reasonably good event for the team as it was able to field a competitive car.
Starting from third on the grid, Lewis finished in fifth position after converting to a three-stop strategy mid-race. He stopped on laps 13, 31 and 42, using supersoft tyres for the first stint and the medium compound thereafter.
Lewis Hamilton, #10, F1 W04 / 04, 5rd:
I'm happy with our result today and it's much better than we expected for the first race of the season. The car felt really good out there; I had a strong first stint and was able to make the supersofts last longer than most of the others. We'd planned for two stops but converted to a three-stop strategy during the race. I don't quite know where we lost the ground to the cars ahead so we'll have a look at the race again now and figure it out. The important thing is that we have a car that we can really work with and the team have done a fantastic job to get us to this position. Thanks to everyone here and back at base for their support over my first race weekend with Mercedes. Now we'll look forward to Malaysia next weekend and hopefully build on this positive start with an improved performance.
Nico Rosberg, #9, F1 W04 / 03, DNF:
An electric problem finished my race which was a shame as I was on a two-stop strategy and in a good position to score a decent result. There are lots of positives that we can take from the weekend however. The team have developed a solid car over the winter, I had a good qualifying pace and the car also ran well in the wet. It looks like we have started to close the gap to the front runners and we can build on that.
Ross Brawn, Team principal:
We had a very good opening stint of the race, making the supersoft tyre last until lap 13 for Lewis and lap 14 for Nico. That convinced us that a two-stop strategy was feasible this afternoon. However, the balance on the medium tyre was not what we needed. Having committed to two stops, and adjusted our pace accordingly to preserve the tyres, the decision to convert to a three-stop strategy compromised Lewis relative to those cars who had gone for three from the start. The behaviour of the tyres is something we will have to think about and understand over the next days. Nico was running strongly when he was forced to retire. We saw a drop in voltage from the battery and that stopped the car. Overall, we have made a good step with the car and learned a lot this afternoon. If we can put the pieces of the puzzle together, we have the ingredients to race well.
We learned a lot this afternoon. We had to switch our strategy from two to three stops, which of course compromised Lewis in terms of his pace and also the final result. As for Nico, we need to work hard to ensure that technical failures do not cost us the chance of strong finishes. We can see that we have a solid basis to work from, now we need to keep our heads down and work hard to improve further.