By Alan Davies, Sports reporter
Sunday, March 4, 2012
FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton rounded off Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ pre-season winter testing programme in Spain today (Sunday).
The 27-year-old former F1 world champion from Hertfordshire climbed into the cockpit of the McLaren MP4-27 challenger around the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona today (Sunday) on the final day of winter testing.
He was sixth fastest on the unofficial testing times, with Kimi Raikkonen quickest for Lotus ahead of Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.
Despite not topping the timesheets, Hamilton was happy with McLaren’s progress ahead of the opening F1 race of the 2012 season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in a fortnight’s time on March 18.
For the final day of 2012 pre-season testing, Lewis resumed testing duties of the team’s proposed race-one aerodynamic upgrade and the Herts-born motor racer completed 115 laps of the Barcelona track.
The aim of today’s programme was to continue the analysis started yesterday (Saturday) by Jenson Button and the team successfully spent the morning running through a suite of set-up and balance changes and a number of tyre comparison runs.
In the afternoon, the desire was to put further miles on the new aero package over a simulated race distance.
The programme was slightly knocked back by a small hydraulic leak at the end of the day, but the issue fortuitously coincided with a late-afternoon rain shower, meaning the team lost little significant running.
At the end of the day, Hamilton and the engineers declared themselves happy with progress, particularly over the course of a long-run.
After the second day of testing in Barcelona on Friday, a satisfied Lewis said: “Today was all about testing set-up.
“It was a good day: we learned quite a lot and improved a few things. We didn’t get a lot of mileage, as we had a lot of downtime inbetween changes.”
He added: “I definitely feel like we have a competitive car.
“This year’s winter testing has been way better than last year.
“I’ve not had any problems, we’ve ironed out a lot of issues and I feel very comfortable. I’m fit and ready for Melbourne.”