McLaren: No nasty surprises which is pleasing

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/27. Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 9 February 2012.

Lewis Hamilton

Feb.9 (McLaren) Lewis Hamilton stepped into MP4-27 for the first time today, taking over from Jenson Button, who had conducted the previous two days’ testing.

As with Jenson, the first day was about acclimatising Lewis to the new car, finding a workable set-up direction and ironing out a few minor issues following Lewis’s initial feedback.

After completing 80 laps, and setting a 1m19.464s best, Lewis declared himself happy and comfortable with the new car.

He said: “Today felt pretty good considering it was my first time in the new car. My initial feelings are pretty positive, despite going through a long, tough programme of initial tests – there were no nasty surprises, which is pleasing.

“This year’s car feels a bit different from last year’s: in 2011, we had so much stability from the rear-end, particularly in the high-speed corners – but we’re now having to find that grip elsewhere, or, at least, take grip off the front and somehow offload it at the rear.

“This car’s baseline is something we can really work with. I know the men and women back at the factory will take a lot from this test and translate it into something new and even better for the next test. The car feels reasonably quick – and that’s a nice feeling.

“Bringing Didier Coton onboard [with my management team] is one of the steps I’ve taken to keep myself 100 per cent focused on my main goal of winning the world championship. Didier’s got a huge amount of racing experience and will really strengthen my management team – he’s been a good friend of mine for many years, and has great experience with the team and the F1 paddock. He’ll be there when I need him.”