McLaren test and reserve driver Gary Paffett says that the team needs Lewis Hamilton back to his best in 2012.

12913 - McLaren needs Hamilton back - Paffett

Hamilton had a difficult season last year, being beaten by a team-mate in the final championship standings for the first time since making his debut in 2007. A number of off-track issues appeared to affect his on-track performances, and Paffett admitted that he hoped Hamilton would start the new season in a better frame of mind.

"Lewis wasn't himself on track or off track," Paffett told The Sun. "He had various problems with his personal life or whatever. Hopefully he has had a chill-out over the winter. We're all hoping he has gone away and sorted himself out a bit and will come back to his best - because at his best Lewis is as good as or better than anyone. And he can definitely fight for the championship."

Paffett added that it wasn't just the team that needed Hamilton back to his best, saying that it would be good for the sport too.

"He wants to be back winning races. We didn't see the Lewis we all love last year and we need him back. I think F1 needs that, too."