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Hamilton 'pushing already' at Mercedes

ESPN Staff
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Lewis Hamilton drove the W04 on Monday afternoon at Jerez © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton says he is "pushing already" at Mercedes and admits he is happier than he was at McLaren.

Mercedes launched its new W04 on Monday at Jerez and Hamilton got to drive the car for the first time in the afternoon as part of a filming day. After his first taste of the new car he revealed that although his input in its development was virtually non-existent, he has already been requesting the team makes certain changes as part of his integration.

"I've been making myself as available as possible," Hamilton said. "Last night I was talking to the aerodynamicists and asking questions about the car and pushing already for certain things that should be added to the car and other people already have. "

With his move to Mercedes marking the first time he has driven in Formula One for any team other than McLaren, Hamilton admitted he was full of excitement for the challenge.

"I'm happier. Just happier, I can't really explain it. Happier that I've got a new challenge, happy that I've got a new start, happy that I've got a fresh chapter in my life, happy that I've got this massive challenge, happy that I've got this excitement because I don't know if the car will be good or bad. I'm excited because I know that I can contribute and with a lot of hard work and perseverance I think we can get there."

Naturally, Hamilton was asked about the differences in preparations for the new season with Mercedes compared to his McLaren debut and he said with so much new information and procedures to learn he expected to still be getting up to speed come the Australian Grand Prix.

"I think I did something like 22 days [testing] or something silly like that before I did my first race. That was at the end of 2006 testing and the pre-season testing that was 15 days or something like that. Now we're much more limited and the simulator becomes a lot more useful. I've got to squeeze a lot of progress into a short period of time and learn a lot. I do anticipate going into the first couple of races still learning a lot.

"It is a bit like starting all over again. I remember in 2006 and 2007 learning all these new controls and procedures, and it's fresh and new again in this car. On the steering wheel I think I've got double the amount of buttons I had on the previous one and I've already got rid of some of the buttons, but I've got way more than before. The engineers and the way the team works is different to what I've had before."