May 18, 2013
Hamilton gives new McLaren first test run
Lewis Hamilton declared his new McLaren a clear step up from last year's race-winning Formula One car after giving it a first test run at Spain's Jerez circuit.
The 2008 world champion was fifth fastest of the 12 drivers on track, although the times meant little with so much to check, and completed 58 laps after short runs in the morning.
"Today was mainly about checking the car -- not the most exciting day, but it was important to make sure everything was running okay," he said in a team statement at the end of the opening day of the year's second pre-season test.
"We didn't do any particularly long runs, and I wasn't too aggressive with the car, but we learned a couple of useful things.
"The car feels good compared to last year's, which is positive. It feels like a good step over MP4-25."
Brazilian Felipe Massa set the pace in the new Ferrari 150th Italia, completing 101 laps in a car renamed after Ford took legal action over the use of the F150 name it has on one of its best-selling pickup trucks in the United States.
Force India and Virgin Racing were also giving their new cars a first run out after launches earlier in the week, and both sounded upbeat.
"Out of the box it runs well and feels generally better than the 2010 car in every area," said Force India's German driver Adrian Sutil. "Already the car is very smooth, which is always positive as then you can focus on improving performance."
Russian-backed Virgin had Germany's Timo Glock in their car, doing 42 laps.
"We had a problem in the morning and lost a bit of track time, but when we were up and running we were able to complete a lot of laps in the time we had and collect valuable data," he said.
"It was a little frustrating to have the car in the garage this morning but putting that aside I am feeling positive about what we achieved this afternoon."
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado was the slowest in the new Williams, doing just 14 laps on a problematic day for the team.