Lewis Hamilton made his debut outing with the number '1' as he returned to test action on Wednesday morning.

Lewis Hamilton made his debut outing with the number '1' as he returned to test action on Wednesday morning.

On his first drive since winning the 2008 championship in Brazil last November, and therefore getting his first taste of the newly launched MP4-24, the 24-year-old Briton joined the test action at the Portimao circuit in Portugal.

Hamilton said he has enjoyed his extended break, and has taken a few moments to reflect on his achievement. "I am world champion and it is a great feeling," he said at the car's recent launch.

"I have got to embrace that and carry it with me."

Hopes are high for a better day of weather following the disastrous conditions on Tuesday, but Hamilton's opening laps were affected by a sodden track, despite the sun shining through the clouds on occasion.

The team is also still using the wider and lower 2008-spec rear wing, ostensibly as a "precautionary measure to increase downforce" in the conditions.

It is further understood that the KERS system on Hamilton's car is not being used on Wednesday.

Also getting his first taste of his 2009 mount on Wednesday was former double world champion Fernando Alonso, at the wheel of the Renault R29 that is quickly gaining the nickname 'bullnose' because of its unique front treatment.

Toyota and Williams are also running their new cars this week and again on Wednesday, while Sebastien Buemi still occupies the cockpit of the 2008-specification Toro Rosso.

 

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