Lewis Hamilton says it was 'nice to prove people wrong' after his solid start to life with Mercedes in the Australian Grand Prix.

The former McLaren man qualified on the second row of the grid in Melbourne and then took fifth in the race in his first outing for his new team - finishing ahead of McLaren duo Jenson Button and Sergio Perez in the process.

Speaking following the season opener, Hamilton took a swipe at those who had criticised his decision to join the Brackley-based team, arguing that some of the ex-drivers to have commented on his move 'don't know what they are talking about'.

"It's nice to prove people wrong," he was quoted by the Guardian. "It has been everyone - particularly all the ex-drivers - a lot saying it was the worst decision ever, saying: 'He's going to finish nowhere; they're going to be nowhere'.

"Then they contradicted themselves, going the other way. They don't know what they're talking about. They're either this way or that way. But it's the bit in the middle. We have done a good job - we finished fifth. We have a lot to work on. We didn't ever come out and say: 'We'll kick everyone's butt.' We never said that we would be crap either. The team have done well, I'm really proud of my team. I'm proud of my decision as well."

Hamilton did admit however that his debut weekend had gone better than expected, with his focus now on maintaining momentum and working hard to keep pace with the leaders.

"I didn't envisage it going as well, definitely not," he said. "I just thought it would be a positive, and it's even more of a positive. Moving forward, I hope there are many more positives to come. So it's satisfying for me, it's satisfying for the team. They're such hungry people, so hungry. That's reflected in the questions from all the mechanics. It's a great working environment. It's really nice to see. Every bit of detail that I can gauge is fed back in and they're going to be on it tomorrow.

"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 to see that they didn't run away with it and that a car that started seventh stormed away with it."