F1: Lewis Hamilton switch to Mercedes vindicated by victory says Ross Brawn

The British driver left McLaren at the end of last season

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton's decision to quit McLaren is now starting to bear fruit.

Hamilton was criticised in some quarters last year when he agreed to join Mercedes and bring the curtain down on his 14-year association with McLaren.

At the time there appeared justification for the scepticism given Mercedes ended last season with a record of one win in 58 grands prix since returning to Formula One in 2010.

Even Hamilton claimed at the start of the season he did not think he would take the chequered flag this year, instead preferring to focus on the long-term possibilities.

But after enviously seeing team-mate Nico Rosberg triumph twice this year, Hamilton finally clinched his maiden win for Mercedes on Sunday in Hungary and Brawn now believes his fellow Briton has silenced a few of his critics.

He said: "It was an important step to get that win. There's absolutely no reason why more won't follow.

"He showed faith in us at the end of last year and people speculated on the wisdom of that move.

"I hope we are now starting to show his faith was justified. It's very early days, but it's very encouraging."

The victory means Hamilton is 48 points adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who finished third at the Hungaroring behind Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.

Heading into F1's summer break, and with Mercedes finally appearing to have cracked the code surrounding Pirelli's tyres, Brawn would like to believe his team are now in the title hunt.

"We had a strong weekend from beginning to end and if we replicate that there's no reason why momentum can't build," added Brawn.

"But we have to get both cars to the finish (Rosberg retired with an engine failure late on) and we didn't do that on Sunday.

"But I think it (the title race) is still open myself and certainly we won't be giving up."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is in no doubt that Mercedes and Hamilton will be a threat over the second half of the season to their hopes of winning four successive world titles.

"Lewis obviously won because he had the best car - it is as simple as that," said Horner.

"He did a great job, drove very well, everything fell perfectly for them.

"Mercedes have a very strong car. Since the second race they have been very quick, taking pole position in seven and they have won three.

"I think we are set for a really intense second half of the year. We just have to maintain our consistency no matter who the opponent is."

PA

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