Lewis happy with Mercedes buzz
Lewis Hamilton is ready to display some British bulldog spirit this season after rediscovering what it means to be happy.
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Hamilton was certainly all smiles after unveiling a Mercedes in which he and team-mate Nico Rosberg completed 50 kilometres apiece at Jerez on an allowed filming day.
It was effectively a shakedown of the latest Silver Arrow, the W04, and following his first outing, Hamilton revealed just how happier he has become since quitting McLaren for the German manufacturing giant.
How long that happiness will last will be determined by whether this Mercedes is competitive enough to challenge the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, and his former team where he spent 13 years.
For now, Hamilton is enjoying himself, as witnessed by the fact he not only has a new team, but also a new "best buddy" in his life - a bulldog he has called Roscoe - and has splashed out on a new private jet worth £20million.
Admitting in joining Mercedes it was effectively like starting all over again, the 28-year-old cut to the chase when asked as to the biggest difference he had experienced with his new team compared to McLaren.
"I'm just happier," said Hamilton.
Asked to expand, he added: "I'm happy I've a new challenge, happy I've a new start, happy it's a fresh chapter in my life.
"I'm happy I've this excitement. I don't know if the car's going to be good or bad.
"So I'm happy and excited because I know I can contribute, and with a lot of hard work and perseverance we can get there, so I'm happy about that."
Roscoe, in particular, has certainly had a positive influence since Hamilton acquired him as he featured in Tweet pictures last week.
"He's my new best buddy," said Hamilton.
"I've always wanted a dog. I grew up with dogs when I was young, I had a Labrador.
"My mum has about five dogs, my dad has a dog as well, but I have always wanted a dog of my own, and I've never had the opportunity to do it, so I just went for it.
"I've got him a passport, he's going to travel around with me. I've asked (F1 supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone) for a pass, so fingers crossed he'll give me one.
"He's a member of the family, and I'm happy to have him."
It is on the track, though, where Hamilton and Mercedes will need to bear their teeth once the settling-in process has passed.
With just one win in the past three seasons since Mercedes returned to F1, attention will be firmly focused on Hamilton and the team to see if they can provide a more satisfactory return on the multi-millions of pounds so far spent.
Although only allowed to use demonstration tyres for the filming day rather than the Pirelli rubber employed over a grand prix weekend, Hamilton conceded to "feeling positive" with the car.
The only bind for the Briton was getting to grips with everything new.
"At the moment I've lots of different switches and buttons I have to get used to, at least double the amount I had on my previous car," said Hamilton.
"I've already got rid of quite a few of the buttons, but I still have way more than I had before.
"Then there are the different procedures and different terminology they are using. That's really what I'm focusing on mostly.
"I've only just driven the car, so I'm not at that stage where I'm giving them any directions as to where to go with it.
"I'm sure when I have driven the car they will take a lot of notice of what I say, and they will obviously want to hear what I feel compared to the previous car, pros and cons.
"I am hoping they will listen to me."
Not that Hamilton will be resorting to any German to get his point across.
Asked whether he had learned any of the language, Hamilton said: "I know one phrase, but it's not printable, so I don't plan on using it ever.
"Actually, I know one other word - wunderbar. I plan on using that a lot."