Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a positive morning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing second fastest overall, just 0.023 seconds adrift of Kimi Raikkonen.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer completed 66 laps of the Spanish circuit before handing over to team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the afternoon session, and the Briton felt it was a positive day on Tuesday after shaking off the cobwebs on day one.
Hamilton set a best time of 1:20.983 after concentrating his programme on aero data collection before he switched to set-up and tyre compound analysis.
“Today’s been a really positive day,” admitted Hamilton. “It was an easier morning and we started off on the right foot. Yesterday, there was an element of brushing off the cobwebs, it being the first day in the car, so it took a little longer than normal to really acclimatise in the car and to find exactly where to exploit the its ability.
“I didn’t do a huge amount of laps today but I got a really good feel for the car. I think we’ve made some steps forward in development. My quick lap felt fast and tidy. We’ve not really exploited the potential of the car, so it’s all good foundation building at this stage.”
Hamilton admitted that he has been able to push on the new tyres more than he could have done on the previous compounds, and believes that the direction Pirelli have gone with the tyres is the right one. He also revealed that the cars are much more physical to drive, but he is ready for the challenge ahead.
“These new tyres seem to be lasting a lot better than they did previously, so I think you can push them more and fight harder, lap after lap, so that’s a good step in the right direction,” said Hamilton.
“I’m finding the car is much more physical to drive than in the past. It’s so much faster in the corners. The force you feel on your body and on your neck is much higher. I’ve got bruises and bumps where I’ve never really had them before.
“Physically I feel fine though, as it’s only half a day of testing. I’ve trained enough over the winter to be ready for more.”