Hamilton: Judge me on race day

PUBLISHED: 17:37 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:23 26 October 2009

LEWIS Hamilton is unconcerned that he was behind the front-runners in testing at Valencia. Tewin s F1 racing superstar took part in two days of testing in Spain last week and on both occasions recorded slower times than McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen

LEWIS Hamilton is unconcerned that he was behind the front-runners in testing at Valencia.

Tewin's F1 racing superstar took part in two days of testing in Spain last week and on both occasions recorded slower times than McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and world champion Kimi Räikkönen.

Herts hero Hamilton has insisted his performances in qualifying and on race days are what counts and not what happens on the test track.

He said: "Well it is not qualifying or the race. I don't need to go out on low fuel to test if I can do the fastest time. It is not the most important thing.

"What is important is that I put the mileage on the car; I test the long runs. I am happy with the balance of the car on the long runs. For me that is the most important thing.

"When it comes to qualifying runs we will see who will do the best one when the time comes."

Ahead of the new season, which begins in Melbourne on March 16 with the Australian Grand Prix, the young gun believes his McLaren car is significantly better this year than last and is aiming to begin the season strongly.

"I feel we are making a good step forward and we have a reliable package," said last year's championship runner-up.

"For sure this is the most intense part and we are continuously building up and I feel comfortable that we are on course for a really good start to the season.

"It is just important that we keep going on this road and we don't get distracted."

The MP4-23 challenger is a development of McLaren's 2007 machine and Hamilton already feels comfortable behind the wheel.

"When I first tested it in Jerez straightaway I realised that this is better," said Hamilton.

"It is an evolution of last year's car, so it is very similar. It feels almost the same when you are in the cockpit.

"But when you are driving you have better downforce, better grip, more power, the car is more consistent and it looks after the tyres differently."

Ominously, he added: "The car is ridiculously fast."

Hamilton's 2008 rivals had better watch out.

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