Lewis Hamilton shrugs off Mercedes critics in "boring" Formula One

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  • Ahead of the rest: Lewis Hamilton began the season as he left off last year by leaving his rivals trailing by a long way in Australia.

    Lewis Hamilton has been forced to defend himself in the wake of his dominant season-opening victory in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton started the new campaign as he ended his title-winning year of 2014 – with a well-deserved triumph, the 34th of his career and seventh in his last eight races.

    – Lewis Hamlton takes Australian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg
    – VIDEO: Hamilton expecting another battle with Rosberg
    – F1 2015: Five key battles to watch out for this season

    But such was the margin of success, with Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg 30 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third, the critics are already firing barbs at Mercedes.

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner led the way post-race as he fears fans will turn their backs on the sport if nothing is done to rein in the German manufacturing giant.

    There are also those who will trot out the line Hamilton is winning simply because he has the best car, an accusation levelled at Vettel on his way to landing four titles in a row from 2010 to 2013.

    In response, Hamilton said: “If I was 30 seconds ahead every race then maybe (the critics would have a point). But we (himself and Rosberg) are racing, and ultimately I still have to get the better of another very, very good driver.

    “Sebastian had no one behind pushing him. At least I’ve got my team-mate, who I am really racing. I don’t remember that ever being the case with Red Bull. People say it’s all the car.

    “Well, it’s a big team that built this car for this performance. I’m the one who has to get in and extract the best from it. As far as I’m aware there has never been a driver that has won the championship that hasn’t had a great car that year. There’s no one who had a car like a Marussia and won is there? Fangio still had a great car.

    “It’s the name of the game. You’ve got to have great equipment as well. I’ve got the car now, I’m not taking anything for granted, but I’m driving the way I am and executing it.”

    Hamilton has an ally in fellow Briton and 2009 world champion Jenson Button, who said: “It obviously would be better if there were people fighting at the front that weren’t just in a Mercedes. But it’s not Mercedes’ fault. It’s everyone else’s fault that they’re not competitive

    “I agree in one way, but would Red Bull be upset about it if they were the team out in front by one second? No. No one else is doing a good enough job and Mercedes have done a fantastic job again.”

    Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has welcomed Christian Horner “to the real world” following the Red Bull boss’s demands for change.

    After four years of success from 2010 to 2013, Red Bull were toppled from F1’s summit last season by Mercedes. Fearing a boring season and fans turning away, Horner believes the FIA has scope within the regulations to equalise matters.

    Fernley, who has bemoaned the imbalance in F1 for some time, said: “It’s a shame it’s taken him so long to work it out! I’ve no sympathy for where he is because how long have we been saying there are issues?

    “It is one that has been progressively growing worse and we identified 18 months ago. The four big teams, including Red Bull, were adamant nothing needed to be done, and now Red Bull are getting squeezed a bit, and probably coming under pressure from their owners.

    “The reality is now setting in. Welcome to the real world. They’ve needed to wake up, and maybe Christian has now woken up.”