Lewis Hamilton drove the team’s 2008 Formula 1 car, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 for the first time today at the Jerez circuit. Lewis left the garage at 09:10 and completed over 456kms and 103 laps during the course of the day.
Lewis joined his new teammate, Heikki Kovalainen at the Spanish circuit for the first of four days of testing over the coming week. Heikki also passed the 100 lap mark, as the Finn clocked up a total of 101.
Following yesterday’s session, which saw Heikki and test driver Pedro de la Rosa take both MP4-23 chassis for their initial runs, work at the test saw Lewis and Heikki continue to focus on both drivers and team familiarising themselves with the 2008 challenger. Yesterday was the first time in the history of the team that it had completed two chassis for the first day of testing.
Lewis and Heikki will remain in Jerez for the final day of the week tomorrow, Friday. Pedro and fellow test driver Gary Paffett will take over testing duties on Monday with Lewis and Heikki returning to the wheel for the final two days of the session on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lewis Hamilton "It was fantastic to get my hands on the MP4-23 this morning in Jerez. I saw the completed car for the first time on Monday at the team's launch in Stuttgart and I have been pretty impatient since then! My first run was at 09:10 and my first impressions are encouraging. I covered over 103 laps, which is 456kms, today. Considering this is only the second day the car has been on track, I am pretty happy with that. We have a lot of work to do, but now we have a real understanding of where we are starting from. I will be back in the MP4-23 with Heikki tomorrow and I am looking forward to continuing the programme and moving forward."
Heikki Kovalainen "Today was my second day with the MP4-23 and I have now been able to complete over 447kms in total. We are all still spending time learning about the car and starting to get used to it. That we were on track for 204 laps in total today is definitely helping us to learn and progress with the car. For me in particular the car is very different from last year, and I have been focusing on that side of things. Settling into the team has been very easy, and I am looking forward to continuing our preparations for Melbourne next Tuesday."
Track Length: 4.423km
Weather: Sunny for the majority of the day, with some cloud over lunch:
Track temperature, 25.2°C / Ambient temperature, 17.9°C
Laps Run: Total - 204: Lewis - 103 / Heikki - 101
Kilometres Covered: Lewis - 456km approx. / Heikki - 447km approx.
Best Lap Time: Lewis - 1m19.132 at 12:11 / Heikki - 1m19.462 at 11:15