Gallery: F1 champ Hamilton leads the way in Spain

PUBLISHED: 11:04 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:12 26 October 2009

Lewis Hamilton tests his new McLaren (Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com)

Lewis Hamilton tests his new McLaren (Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com)

LEWIS Hamilton led the way for McLaren during testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain yesterday (Thursday) and was encouraged by his new car. It was the second time the reigning world champion from Tewin had been behind the wheel of the MP4-24 Vodafone Mc

Lewis Hamilton tests his new McLaren (Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com)

LEWIS Hamilton led the way for McLaren during testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain yesterday (Thursday) and was "encouraged" by his new car.

It was the second time the reigning world champion from Tewin had been behind the wheel of the MP4-24 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

After finishing the day as the fastest of the 2009 specification cars, he said: "Today's test gave me the first opportunity to drive MP4-24 in warm, dry conditions - and I'm very encouraged by what I felt."

Herts hero Hamilton, 24, pointed out similarities to the vehicle in which he became the youngest-ever F1 world champion.

"The car feels strong, very similar to last year's car, in fact," he added.

"It doesn't take long to get used to the new buttons in the cockpit, but the real test for everyone now is to understand the slick tyres ahead of the first race in Melbourne next month."

Following 93 laps in Spain, Hamilton clocked a best of 1 minute 20.737 seconds. He was just ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing whose quickest lap was 1 min 20.738 secs.

The fastest overall on the day was Sebastien Bourdais with 1 min 18.493 secs.

However, he was in the 2008 Scuderia Toro Rosso.

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