Hamilton pleased with fifth place in F1 season-opener

Melbourne: Lewis Hamilton was happy with his fifth-place finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, in what was his first Formula1 outing with new team Mercedes.

The 28-year-old Hamilton, who started from second row on the grid, challenged throughout the contest at Albert Park but suffered as a result of high tyre wear and was forced to take a third pit stop.

"I`m happy with our result today and it`s much better than we expected for the first race of the season. 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," said Hamilton.

"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."

Hamilton`s career since his youth days was spent at McLaren until last season when he inked a three-year deal with Mercedes.

The 2008 World champion, the British driver said he was now anxiously anticipating next week`s race at Sepang.

"Thanks to everyone here and back at base for their support over my first race weekend with Mercedes," Hamilton said.

"Now we`ll look forward to Malaysia next weekend and hopefully build on this positive start with an improved performance."