But Hamilton's new W04 looked competitive in winter testing and then in Melbourne last weekend, while the 2013 McLaren is struggling.
"Lewis Hamilton recently acquired a dog and so, it seems, has (Jenson) Button; only Button is driving his," wrote Guardian correspondent Paul Weaver.
Hamilton cannot hide his joy at the situation, aiming fire at his critics including Sirs Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart: "They don't know what they're talking about.
"It's nice to prove people wrong," admitted the 28-year-old after touching down in Malaysia. "It has been everyone (criticising), particularly all the ex-drivers commenting that it was the worst decision ever.
"The team (Mercedes) have done well, I'm really proud of my team. I'm proud of my decision as well," added Hamilton.