Lewis Hamilton described the McLaren MP4-26 as a “step forward” over its predecessor after driving it for the first time today.
Speaking to reporters at Jerez he said: “How it felt today was definitely a step forward.
“Whether that’s aero or mechanical, I haven’t yet identified exactly which part it is but it it’s a good thing that it feels good initially.
“My initial response was that it felt quite comfortable to drive and there’s certain areas I noticed particularly that were quite a good improvement on last year.
“We didn’t do that many runs today, we had quite a lot of programmes to get through. So I was really doing what a test driver would do: just go out and do this test, that test. We did that all day generally.
“The car feels good, it’s positive. My initial thought was it’s a good step better than last year so I was quite happy with it.”
He drove 58 laps in the car today but cautioned against drawing hasty conclusions: “We still have work to do, it’s very early days.”
He hasn’t used the adjustable rear wing yet and only briefly tried KERS: “I literally only used it in the last two or three laps we did. It feels exactly the same as it did in 2009.”
Hamilton said he still gets a buzz out of driving a new F1 car for the first time as he enters his fifth season with McLaren:
“I’ve been here five years, whatever it is. And it’s crazy to think – I remember the first time I got in a Formula 1 car, the excitement I had then – I still have that excitement now.
“When I walk alongside it and look at all the different things, the detail, see how it’s been put together, and know that’s my baby, that’s what I’m going to go out and try to tame. It’s still the coolest job and the coolest thing ever.”
2011 F1 testing
- Young Drivers Test Day 3 in pictures
- Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi
- Young Drivers Test Day 2 in pictures
- Vergne stays quickest on second day of test
- Italian F3 pair complete Ferrari test
- Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test
- McLaren cover least test distance with new car
- Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”
- Second Barcelona test day 5 in pictures
- Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren
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