Lewis Hamilton hopes winning the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix helps 'prove people wrong' after coming under criticism for only winning in the fastest Formula 1 car.

Hamilton claimed a remarkable win at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, fending off a fast-charging Max Verstappen in the closing laps.

One criticism put towards Hamilton and his success in the sport is that he ‘can only win in a dominant Mercedes F1 car’. 

Given Red Bull’s superior pace advantage in Bahrain, Hamilton showed yet again that he doesn’t need the outright fastest car to claim victories in F1 - as shown in Turkey last year.

Speaking after his 96th career victory, Hamilton said: “I think today was definitely a blessing in disguise perhaps. I think there’s always opportunities to prove people wrong and I like to think today is definitely one of them. 

“But I think there have been several in the past also, I’ve been here a long time, and I hope there are many opportunities in the future to be able to show what I was able to do today also. 

“Of course we were fortunate with Max going wide in Turn 4 but that won't happen again I’m pretty sure so we’ve got to do better, be smarter, with how we navigate through the weekends with the fact that we don’t have the fastest at the moment, but that’s all god for me. I don’t mind having to pull that extra in order to make the difference.”

F1 boss Ross Brawn heaped praise on Hamilton in his post-race column, saying his drive in Bahrain was “among the very best of his career.”

“This was a race that featured a host of sensational drives, but Hamilton most deserves this accolade after a scintillating drive that was among the very best of his career.

“He simply drove brilliantly, pacing his tyres really well and posing a quiet threat throughout the race, despite not having the fastest car in the field.

“There were one or two little moments where he faltered under pressure from Verstappen, but each time he held on remarkably and held firm in mighty impressive fashion.”