Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lewis: McLaren have 'a good platform'

Lewis Hamilton said that McLaren have a "good platform" from which to build after sampling the new MP4-27 for the first time on Thursday

Taking over after team-mate Jenson Button had spent the first two days of Formula 1's opening pre-season test putting the new McLaren chassis through its paces, the 2008 World Champion gave a positive initial assessment after completing a total of 80 laps and setting the day's fourth fastest time.

"It felt pretty good to be out there first time, to get back out on track after such a long winter. My initial thoughts were pretty good," he told Sky Sports.

"Every year you arrive and you never know what to expect, but you always hope for a good platform to start from and something that the team can build from.

"I think that after today I feel quite positive about where the car is at the moment and I'm confident that the guys can push it forward."

Nice surprise
Hamilton said he received no "nasty surprises" adding that "the nice surprise was that it felt reasonably quick".

However, he did say that the car did feel different at the rear end without the extra downforce provided by the now-outlawed blown diffuser.

"The car is different. Last year we had so much support and stability, particularly in the high-speed corners, but now we're having to find that grip," he said.

"We'll take grip off the front and try to offload it to the rear somehow. But I think the baseline that we have is something we can really work with."

Hamilton also added that Pirelli's new tyres offered "more life" than their predecessors and suggested that McLaren's only issue to date is that their simulator had not been set up accordingly.

"There's a couple of small things in the car that we have. There are no real problems, it's just different in driving with the tyres and everything," he said.

"I tested in the simulator and it's a little bit different to what it is in the simulator. We'll go back and adjust the simulator to what it's like in real life."

Not a contest
Even so, Hamilton said he saw no reason thus far not to think that McLaren will challenge this year.

"Today you've got to remember that everyone is just focusing on their own programmes. It's not a contest for who's the fastest at the moment," he continued.

"We're just trying to get lots of running, testing the items. The Ferrari's not really showing anything just yet; of course, the Red Bull looks fast - as it usually does - and we're there I think.

"But over the coming weeks we'll get a better indication of where everyone is."

Source: SkySports

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