Hamilton itching to race after setting Barca benchmark

On day four of F1's pre-season testing in Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton went fastest and is now keen to start the season with Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton in action in Barcelona   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton is desperate to compete and declared the new Mercedes an upgrade on last year's title-winning model after posting the quickest time of Formula One's first test of the season in Barcelona.

The world champion headed into Thursday's outing with just 25 laps to his name this week due to the poor weather at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, on a dry run on day four, Hamilton was able to post a time of one minute and 19.333 seconds to lay down a significant marker to the chasing pack.

That lap was three tenths quicker than Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel had managed on day two, and the Briton is keen for the action to start, with the opening race due to take place in Australia on March 25.

"We could go to Melbourne now and just go for it - I just want to race," he said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

"Naturally it's an evolution of last year's car and we've got better tyres and here we've got a new [Barcelona track] surface, so that might make things seem even better than it really is.

"But so far it's good. I was really happy to get out today to be honest. You know I don't like testing but today I was really keen to get out because we hadn't had many laps.

"So it was great to get a feel for the tyres, the warm-up process and trying to stretch the legs a little bit on this new car. So far it's positive.

"It definitely does feel like a better car compared to last year's car, so that's a positive."