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Hamilton delighted with McLaren shakedown 20 Sep 2006

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) with the McLaren MP4-21. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, 19 September 2006. World ©  Bumstead/Sutton.

GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a short but sweet debut test outing for McLaren on Tuesday. Hamilton completed a brief shakedown run for the team at Silverstone, ahead of a full day of testing on Wednesday.

“What a feeling, I couldn't stop smiling when the team fired up the engine this morning!” gushed the British driver after his first taste of Formula One power. “Although today’s shakedown has just been to familiarise myself with the car, complete radio checks, practice manual launches and that kind of thing, the experience of driving the MP4-21 is just fantastic.”

In all, Hamilton completed nine un-timed laps around the British Grand Prix circuit. His work really begins on Wednesday, when he starts a full, two-day programme alongside McLaren veteran Pedro de la Rosa. And despite media suggestions that the two are effectively going head to head for a 2007 race seat, Hamilton is clearly undaunted by the prospect.

“I cannot wait to put in more mileage and really find the limits of the car,” he explained. “It has been a great year for me to date, and alongside winning the GP2 championship I have worked hard to ensure the team feels I am ready to have this test. It is going to be an intensive couple of days and I am looking forward to starting the test proper tomorrow morning.”

If Hamilton impresses McLaren bosses this week he could be given another chance to test when the team run at Jerez in Spain on October 11-12.