F1 Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton flourishing with Mercedes as he believes critics who blasted move are eating their own words

Hamilton recorded his fourth victory on the bounce as he held of Nico Rosberg to win in Spain

Lewis Hamilton believes the critics who chided him for joining Mercedes have now been made to eat their words.

It was in September 2012 when Hamilton stunned the world of Formula One by announcing he was quitting McLaren and moving to Brackley.

It was a decision that at the time appeared strange given Mercedes had won just one of 52 races following their return to the sport at the start of 2010.

But Hamilton was sold a vision by Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and then team principal Ross Brawn, and that is now bearing fruit.

In taking the chequered flag in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton has now won four races in a row, and for the first time in almost two years he leads the championship.

Asked about his decision to join Mercedes, Hamilton said: "It was obviously a great call.

"There was never a moment I ever doubted it, but of course I never could have imagined we would be having this kind of success.

"I'm not one to rub it in people's faces. I knew that I was in a good place, I knew that I was making the right decision for me, and now it should be becoming more evident to people.

"I'm sure the people that wrote those things had an opinion at the beginning, and I'm sure it's changed now."

Hamilton, though, was forced to endure another late battle with team-mate Nico Rosberg, holding off the German to win by just 0.6secs.

It is Mercedes' fourth successive one-two, with Rosberg forced to play second fiddle on all four occasions to now trail Hamilton by three points.

Although winning in Spain for the first time in his F1 career, it was a performance that did not fully cheer Hamilton.

"Getting my first grand prix win in Spain after being in the sport eight years, it's very difficult to put the feeling into words when you have a result like this," said Hamilton.

"Never have I had a car like this, nor a gap like this to anyone before.

"But I know I wasn't fast enough. Nico was quicker as I struggled with the balance, but fortunately I was able to keep him behind."

Mercedes' dominance was such Daniel Ricciardo finished 49 seconds adrift in his Red Bull, but at least this was a legitimate podium for the Australian given he was disqualified from his home race in March.

As for team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the reigning four-times champion conjured his best drive of the season to put behind him a torrid weekend hit by gremlins, finishing fourth after starting 15th.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas was fifth, whilst Ferrari, winners here last year with Fernando Alonso, had to settle for sixth and seventh, with Kimi Raikkonen passed by the Spaniard just over two laps from home.

Romain Grosjean hauled Lotus into the points for the first time in a problematic campaign with eighth, with Force India duo Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg ninth and 10th.

That left McLaren out of the points for the third successive race, with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen 11th and 12th, whilst Max Chilton was 19th in his Marussia.

PA

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