Lewis Hamilton is confident that McLaren has made a step forward with its new MP4-26 following his first full day of testing with the car at Jerez on Thursday.
The Briton ended the day fifth-fastest overall, having spent much of the session focusing on short runs with the new car. Although Hamilton has not yet had a chance to fully explore its limit, he is encouraged by his first impressions.
"I was happy with how it felt today," he said after testing had finished. "It is definitely a step forward. I haven't yet identified if that's down to an aero or mechanical step forward, but my initial response was that it felt comfortable to drive.
"There were certain areas I noticed particularly that were quite a big improvement on last year. But it is still early days, so we have a lot of work to do."
Hamilton said that the program for the day was focused more on early checking of the MP4-26's systems than going for out-and-out lap times.
"We had quite a lot of programs to do. I was really doing what a test driver would do; this test, that test, and we did that all day," he said. "The car feels better than last year so I'm happy.
"I don't really have anything exciting to say. We didn't do enough today – we didn't do any setup tests; we didn't use the rear wing and KERS together.
"I've tried different pieces of the puzzle, and I'm looking forward to trying it all together. But we got through everything we wanted to."