Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a solid first outing in the McLaren MP4-25 at Valencia on Tuesday.

The team resumes on the second day at the Ricardo Tormo circuit with Hamilton taking over from test driver Gary Paffet. The 2008 World Champion clocked 108 laps on his way to the third-quickest time, some 0.5s behind Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.

"It’s a different feeling compared to the first lap of the first test day of 2009," Lewis explained happily. "It’s a positive feeling; I’ve kept a close eye on the development of this car, I’ve seen it evolve and had input into it, which is very exciting.

"I got out smiling. The problems I had [last season]… I don’t have them in this car. This was everything I could have asked for from a first day – it’s gone well; we felt quite comfortable with what we did but, obviously, there’s a bit of time we need to find and there’s lots of areas in which we can improve.

"It’s too early to say that this is a car which can challenge for the title but I do feel it’s a huge improvement from the beginning of 2009. The encouraging thing is reliability; we’ve had two days and not really had any problems – that’s a huge plus for us. Ferrari do seem very quick but we don’t know what fuel loads everyone’s running."

Hamilton hands the MP4-25 over to his team-mate Jenson Button for the third and final day’s running.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.