Hulkenberg may have topped the times on the second day of testing, but Lewis Hamilton was pleased last night following a successful day of testing, during which he completed 121 laps in the 2012 McLaren. According to Lewis, he couldn’t “remember last time I did that many laps. Definitely we feel in a much more comfortable place and confident that we can be at the front fighting with the guys at the top.”

After the tricky start to the 2011 season, 2012 is a pole apart: “Last year I think I struggled to do 30 laps. I think we struggled to do 10 laps without the exhaust failing” – it’s clear why he was so happy with a full day of running.

Although happy, when asked about how the new McLaren compares to the Red Bull he erred on the side of caution, suggesting that the Adrian Newey inspired team still have the edge. Indeed, Sebastian Vettel managed to complete a race simulation and plenty of pit stop practice during the day and, when they were together on track, he did seem to have more speed than Lewis, something that didn’t seem to phase the Brit: “I was always on used tyres and I think he started with new tyres in the second couple of stints, but generally he looked very, very competitive, perhaps a little bit faster than us – when he was behind me his car looked like it was handling quite well.”

It’s no suprise to hear that Lewis is already excited about the Australian GP, saying how he cannot wait to go racing again: “I love the last test. it’s when the car is at its best and you know where the car will be when we get to the first race. It is always exciting because you know that the next time you get in the car it will be the first race in Australia, and that’s a fantastic feeling. I can’t believe we are so close.”

Hamilton takes to the track in Barcelona: