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Haters gonna hate, says struggling Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is catching strays from critics following a difficult start to the Formula 1 season in a below-par Mercedes car.

The 39-year-old has scored just 10 points from the opening four rounds following his Mercedes team's misfiring campaign.

Hamilton has failed to finish in the top six so far, and crossed the line a distant ninth at the last round in Japan a fortnight ago.

Hamilton, who is moving to Ferrari next year, was asked if Mercedes' early-season troubles vindicated his decision to quit the team, which carried him to six of his record-equalling seven world championships.

"I don't feel like I need my decision vindicating," he said. "I know what is right for me, and that hasn't changed from the moment I made the decision.

"There's not been a moment that I've questioned it, and I'm not swayed by other people's comments.

"Even today, there's people continuing to talk s***, and that will continue on for the rest of the year.

"I'll have to just do what I did the previous time (when he moved to Mercedes from McLaren). Only I can know what's right for me, and this (joining Ferrari) will be an exciting time for me."

Hamilton, who was speaking ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix – the first staged here since 2019 – was asked what he meant by "people taking s***".

"Just read what's out there," he replied.

Hamilton will be 40 when he makes his debut for Ferrari in Australia next March.

Fernando Alonso announced last week that he will remain in the sport beyond his 45th birthday after agreeing a contract extension with Aston Martin. The Spaniard, 43 in July, will become the oldest driver of the modern era.

And Hamilton added: "I'm going to be racing for quite some time still, right into my 40s, so it's definitely good Fernando is still around and keeps going on for a bit longer.

"I never thought I'd be racing into my 40s. I'm pretty sure I said I wouldn't. But life is such a crazy trick. I don't feel like I'm nearing 40. I feel like I'm pretty young.

"It's a real positive that Fernando is staying because it means I'm not the oldest driver here.

"But also Fernando is one of the best drivers we've had in the sport so for him to continue to be here and continue to have the output that he's had just shows what's possible."

Hamilton, who has won a record six times in China, will be back on track on Friday in qualifying for the first sprint round of the season.

In a rejig of the format this year, the grid for Sunday's main event will now be determined after the 19-lap race which gets underway at 11:00am on Saturday.

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