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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 14:12 GMT
Hamilton impressed by new McLaren
Lewis Hamilton in McLaren's new 2008 car
Hamilton got his chance to drive the new MP4-23
Lewis Hamilton has given a warm welcome to McLaren's new 2008 car after driving it for the first time in Spain.

The 2007 championship runner-up had his first run-out in the MP4-23 in testing at Jerez the day after new team-mate Heikki Kovalainen had his first drive.

"It was fantastic to get my hands on it. I saw the completed car for the first time on Monday and have been impatient since then," said Hamilton.

"You can't read all that much into so few laps but the feeling is positive."

Kovalainen, who joined McLaren from Renault in a straight swap with former world champion Fernando Alonso, also liked his first experience of the new car, as did team test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

"First impressions are good. The car's performance is definitely an encouraging starting point," said the Finn.
606: DEBATE

"On Wednesday we covered 69 laps in total between Heikki and me, which is a good start," said De la Rosa. "The car felt positive and it has been an encouraging day."

McLaren have 18 days of testing scheduled before the season starts in Australia on 16 March.



SEE ALSO
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07 Jan 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton team-mate expects parity
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Kovalainen completes McLaren move
14 Dec 07 |  Formula One
Alonso opts for return to Renault
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Formula One hits new heights
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