Hamilton upbeat after opening race

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, accelerates out of turn 12 during the official qualifying session of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 17, 2013. (AP Photo/John Donegan)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, accelerates out of turn 12 during the official qualifying session of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 17, 2013. (AP Photo/John Donegan)
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Former world champion Lewis Hamilton said he was happy with his performance after coming fifth in the Australian Grand Prix.

The Stevenage-born driver was heavily criticised for his move from McLaren to Mercedes but he showed good pace throughout the weekend in the Brackley-based car.

Lotus driver and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was victorious as he beat Fernando Alonso into second while reigning champion Sebastian Vettel was third.

Hamilton said afterwards: “We have done a good job and the team have done well.

“I don’t think Red Bull have that big a gap on us. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s my feeling. In the race it was interesting that they didn’t run away with it and that a car that started seventh stormed away with it.”

Hamilton’s team-mate, Nico Rosberg, suffered different fortunes as he was forced to retire when his car developed mechanical problems.

Meanwhile, Adrian Sutil impressively led the race for the Silverstone Sahara Force India squad before eventually finishing seventh.

His team-mate, Paul di Resta, also scored world championship points, passing the chequered flag in eighth position.

This weekend the teams head to Malaysia for the second round of the FIA F1 World Championship.

Di Resta said: “We have to make the car go stronger and certainly go to Malaysia with high hopes of making our strategies work.

“Our car seems to be very good on tyres again. We were quite clear about where we were going. There are positives and it’s good to get points on the table already.

“Temperatures will be high but I think our car should suit the warm weather. I’m fairly happy and we’ll enjoy the next few days before we get back to work in Malaysia and conquer the jet lag.”

Australian Grand Prix race results top 10: 1. Kimi Raikkonen; 2. Fernando Alonso; 3. Sebastian Vettel; 4. Felipe Massa; 5. Lewis Hamilton; 6. Mark Webber; 7. Adrian Sutil; 8. Paul di Resta; 9. Jenson Button; 10. Romain Grosjean.