Lewis Hamilton says a complete break from Formula 1 over the winter has left him refreshed and ready to put his troubled 2011 campaign behind him.
Speaking at the launch of the McLaren MP4-27 in Woking today, Hamilton said team boss Martin Whitmarsh had allowed him to take a longer than usual break post-season and he used it to rethink his approach to be ready for what he hopes will be a stronger 2012.
"I was over in the cold mountains in Colorado, spending time with family and friends," said Hamilton, who was beaten by a teammate in the championship standings for the first time in his F1 career last season as Jenson Button took second in the championship compared to Hamilton's fifth place. "I did lots of training, I didn't miss much, and I was not missing the car too much.
"It was nice to be away from it for a while, just to get the energy back, refresh. Starting anew and getting back into training was fantastic. Last year I was training too much and this year I balanced it a bit better. Spending time with family and friends is how you get your energy. I was grateful to Martin for allowing me to have such a good break."
Although Button's improved form in 2011 was partly put down to the car becoming more suited to him in his second year at McLaren, Hamilton is confident the MP4-27 can work well with both drivers' styles.
"We work closely as a team, me and Jenson," he said. "You sometimes have drivers who demand different things. Jenson and I have similar setups, so we demand the same thing.
"I don't feel it will benefit him more than me, and I think he feels the same. We generally agree with what we need to do."
The Briton said he was particularly impressed by the "refined" appearance of the MP4-27.
"I think it is fantastic," said Hamilton. "Seeing the hard work going into building this car is inspiring. It is the most refined-looking car we have had for some time, so we are looking forward to getting back in it."