Hamilton silences his critics
LOOK AT ME NOW: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is giving his criitics more reason to eat their words about leaving McLaren for his current team after taking pole for in Shanghai on Saturday (April 13) for the China GP. IMAGE: AFP
SHANGHAI, China - Lewis Hamilton's first pole position for Mercedes at the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday (April 13) allowed the 2008 Formula 1 World champion to relive memories and prove the critics wrong again.
The 27-year-old could scarcely have dreamed of such a turnaround after agreeing in 2012 to join the team at a time its cars were way off the pace being set by McLaren - with which he ended the 2012 season on pole in Brazil.
Yet, in only his third race as a Mercedes driver, he swept to a 27th career pole with every expectation of a second 2013 podium finish. The other was in Malaysia in March.
It was, he said, up there with his first in 2007. "Every pole is special in its own way. I feel very privileged to have even one, let alone the number I have," he said. "Being in a new team it feels like it is the first and I hope the first of many. I'm pleased I have this feeling, the excitement that I have when I'm at the top.
"I've been racing for so long, so many years, and I've had the feeling quite a few times, but it's still great to have that energy and buzz when it does come together."
The Briton arrived in Shanghai feeling under the weather, suffering,the team said, from an allergy that forced him to cancel all media engagements on Thursday (April 11). He had also been struggling to get comfortable in the car, still adjusting to the set-up and different ways of doing things.
His team mate Nico Rosberg, winner for Mercedes in China, led the time sheets in the first free practice on Friday (April 12) and Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fastest overall on that day.
"Coming here we never expected to be as high as we are, I definitely didn't expect it," Hamilton added. "It's a real pleasure and a bonus for us to have such a position but it's still all to play for on Sunday. We've still a lot of work to do with the car but the guys are on it, I can tell, which is a real positive feeling."
Asked how much satisfaction he derived from showing up the critics who said he was a fool to leave McLaren, Hamilton smiled. "You can't really answer that in one result but definitely, bit by bit, the more and more we impress and improve they have to stand to be corrected.
"I think I made the right choice."
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