The triple world champion was the first driver in action at the Spanish Grand Prix venue, taking the new W07 out on track as the Spanish Grand Prix venue turned green at 09:00am, CET.
Although Hamilton eventually had to settle for second nearly half a second behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the Briton racked up an impressive 156 laps – or more than double the distance of a race in Barcelona.
“It’s been an amazing day, I’ve never had a Day One in practice quite like today,” Hamilton told reporters afterwards. “To get into a new car and to have so little problems is just a remarkable job done by the team.”
Quizzed on his hunger for success after losing out to his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the final three races of the 2015 campaign, the 31-year old added:
“There was no need to find motivation. The motivation was to get the car as far as possible in terms of distance, because that means this puts us in a good spot for the upcoming season.”
Hamilton had put down his late-season drop in performance to changes in the setup after the Singapore Grand Prix. Asked whether he felt more comfortable in the new car, the ex-McLaren protégé explains he did not have time to delve into that kind of details on the opening day.
“Setup wise, we have not been working on that today. We have just been working on mileage. To be honest what we would have finished last season would be what we have started with this year.
“I have not been able yet to get into trying to find another setup or get used to what we had before, or try and figure out how we could make it better but that time will come.”
Hamilton will hand over testing duties to Rosberg for the second day in Barcelona before returning to the wheel of the Mercedes W07 on Wednesday.