Lewis Hamilton says finishing fifth on his debut with Mercedes exceeded expectations.
Hamilton converted to a three stop strategy mid-race after conceding that a two stop gamble was too much.
“I’m happy with our result today and it’s much better than we expected for the first race of the season,” he said.
“The car felt really good out there; I had a strong first stint and was able to make the supersofts last longer than most of the others. We’d planned for two stops but converted to a three-stop strategy during the race. I don’t quite know where we lost the ground to the cars ahead so we’ll have a look at the race again now and figure it out,” he added.
“The important thing is that we have a car that we can really work with and the team have done a fantastic job to get us to this position. Thanks to everyone here and back at base for their support over my first race weekend with Mercedes. Now we’ll look forward to Malaysia next weekend and hopefully build on this positive start with an improved performance.”
Team mate Nico Rosberg retired when in the hunt for points but added his enthusiasm with the pace of the W04.
“An electric problem finished my race which was a shame as I was on a two-stop strategy and in a good position to score a decent result,” said Rosberg.
“There are lots of positives that we can take from the weekend however. The team have developed a solid car over the winter, I had a good qualifying pace and the car also ran well in the wet. It looks like we have started to close the gap to the front runners and we can build on that.”