Hamilton delighted by McLaren's latest design

Problems that dogged the car last season have been solved, claims British driver

Lewis Hamilton had his first taste here yesterday of the McLaren he hopes will carry him to the world championship this season, and pronounced himself satisfied.

"It was a night-and-day difference in feeling compared to the first lap and the first test day in 2009," he said. "I have a positive feeling. I've obviously kept a close eye on the development of the car and the results we got at the end of 2009 – so seeing it evolve and having input into it, I was very excited to get in today to see what parts we have improved. Hopefully we would have got rid of a lot of the bugs that we had in the previous car.

"It felt good. I got out smiling and all the problems I had with the last car I didn't have with this one. There are still areas we can improve on."

Hamilton said the feel he got from the MP4-25 was exactly what he would want from first acquaintance with a new car. "It's gone well," he said. "Obviously the Ferrari seems very quick, and so does the Sauber. But we don't know what fuel loads everyone else was on. We felt quite comfortable with what we were doing, but there is quite a bit of time we need to find."

Felipe Massa continued to set the pace for Ferrari with a best lap of 1 minute 11.722 seconds, and Japan's Kamui Kobayashi kept BMW Sauber in the limelight with the second fastest time of 1min 12.056sec, both setting their laps early before focusing on long-distance running.

Hamilton ended the day third on 1min 12.256sec, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica on 1min 12.426sec, both setting their times late in the afternoon. Possible improvements at the very end of the day were thwarted when the Pole's car ground to a halt opposite the pits and resulted in the red flag being brought out.

Reigning world champion Jenson Button will take over McLaren's driving duties today, when he will be joined by Fernando Alonso at Ferrari and Michael Schumacher will be back at Mercedes.

Meanwhile, Force India confirmed 23-year-old Paul di Resta from West Lothian as their test and reserve driver alongside Tonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil. Di Resta, cousin of Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL champion Dario Franchitti, impressed during testing for the team in Jerez in November, and will get a run in the new Force India VJM03 at the same track next week.

The Scot is expected to replace Sutil in the team from 2011, and Force India will exploit a loophole in the regulations to give him greater experience by running him in place of one of the race drivers in some Friday sessions.

"Our choice was to take an experienced driver or to work with a young guy with potential and do something to supplement that potential with experience," said chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer. "We'll sacrifice some of the race drivers' track time so Paul can get up to speed."

"This is a fantastic opportunity, and I want to be around F1 for a long time," Di Resta said. "There's no doubt that I have big shoes to fill," he continued, alluding to Scotland's legacy of Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Innes Ireland and David Coulthard, "and I want to succeed. I am fully focused on what I want to achieve, and that's to be world champion. I am going to try my best to achieve that but it's also important to enjoy the whole thing, too."

What's the point? The new scoring system for F1

From the start of the new Formula One season, the winner of each race will get 25 points, the second placed driver 18 points, and so on down to 10th place gaining a single point. Previously the winner of each race was awarded 10 points, the runner-up 8, third place 6, down to the eighth-placed driver winning a point.

The system promises to reward drivers' reliability and consistency during the season in the final table.

New system: 1st place – 25 points, 2nd – 18 pts, 3rd – 15 pts, 4th – 12 pts, 5th – 10 pts, 6th – 8 pts, 7th – 6 pts, 8th – 4 pts, 9th – 2 pts, 10th – 1 pt.

The new scoring system would not have changed the standings over the last three seasons but would have created a larger points margin between the drivers on the final table.

2009 season

Pos/Driver/New/Old

1. Jenson Button 244/95

2. Sebastian Vettel 206/84

3. Rubens Barrichello 196/77

4. Mark Webber 174/69.5

5. Lewis Hamilton 126/49

2008 season

Pos/Driver/New/Old

1. Lewis Hamilton 243/98

2. Felipe Massa 240/97

3. Kimi Raikkonen 189/75

4. Robert Kubica 186/75

5. Fernando Alonso 154/61

2007 season

Pos/Driver/New/Old

1. Kimi Raikkonen 272/110

2. Fernando Alonso 266/109

3. Lewis Hamilton 265/109

4. Felipe Massa 238/94

5. Nick Heidfeld 151/61

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Life and Style
tech
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines