F1: Hamilton takes McLaren MP4-26 for first test drive in Jerez
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton got his first chance to take the new McLaren MP4-26 for a spin in Spain today (Thursday) and thinks it is better than last year’s model.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-26
Monocoque: McLaren-moulded carbon-fibre composite incorporating front and side impact structures.
Bodywork: Carbon-fibre composite. Separate engine cover, sidepods and floor.
Tyres: Pirelli P Zero
Type: Mercedes-Benz FO 108Y
Capacity: 2.4 litres
Maximum rpm: 18,000
Number of valves: 32
e-Motor: Engine-mounted electrical motor/generator
Power: 60 kW
Gearbox: McLaren-moulded carbon-fibre composite. Integral rear impact structure.
Gears: Seven forward and one reverse.
The Herts-born racer completed 58 laps of the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.
It was a cautious start for the new MP4-26 as the team spent much of the day undertaking rigorous checks during the first day of track testing.
Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, said: “Today was mainly about checking the car – not the most exciting day, but it was important to make sure everything was running okay.
“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.”
In the morning, McLaren focused on short runs to enable 26-year-old Lewis and the engineers to run through a number of systems checks and make small set-up and tyre-compound changes in order to gauge the car’s reaction to adjustments.
At lunchtime, the car was routinely stripped for a more thorough check of the new systems, returning to the track for the final hour’s running.
While the day’s programme ran as planned without the engagement of the drag reduction system, the latter part of the day saw McLaren running the MP4-26’s new hybrid KERS system for the first time.
Lewis completed 256km in total without problem and the team declared itself satisfied with the first day on track in Jerez.
Jenson Button begins testing tomorrow (Friday) as McLaren put more miles on the new car and ramp up the testing programme.
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