Hamilton encouraged by new McLaren
Lewis Hamilton is encouraged by the new McLaren, saying that the car "seems a lot better than last year's".
Since winning the world championship in 2008 Hamilton has yet to have the quickest car, with Red Bull proving the team to beat in the last two seasons. When asked if that was still the case, Hamilton confirmed that it was, but said that McLaren looked set to be starting the 2012 season in a stronger position than previous years.
"Certainly. It will be up to us to be able to surpass it," Hamilton told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "From what I've seen, however, the new McLaren seems a lot better than last year's ... Basically; the Red Bull is an evolution of the aerodynamic concepts introduced in 2009. Midway through 2011 it was phenomenal, it was at the highest level and on top of that it almost never broke down. By contrast, when we had the same reliability, we lacked the same performance.
"During the winter you always dream of arriving at the start of the season with a car that goes quick immediately. This hasn't happened in the last two seasons. I want it to happen this year. If we start well, we'll stay at the top more easily."
Hamilton also said that Jenson Button's improvement in 2011 was due to the technical team around him, and that he hopes to battle against his team-mate for the title this year.
"Jenson is very fast and has built around himself a very strong team of technicians. I always want to beat him and I'm never happy if I don't. But psychologically I don't see it as a problem. He's an open person who you can get along with. It would be great to fight with him for the world title in 2012; it just depends on the McLaren car."