A less than shining day of testing for McLaren on Wednesday has raised alarm bells for the title hopes of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

A less than shining day of testing for McLaren on Wednesday has raised alarm bells for the title hopes of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The 23-year-old Briton, however, who at one stage returned to the Jerez pitlane with the rear of his MP4-24 on fire, did not seem troubled as he met with the press while his Mercedes-powered car was fixed.

"We're just testing, who knows?" Hamilton, whose car "overheated" according to Germany's Bild newspaper, answered.

"We'll find out when we get to the first race."

In the field of eight 2009-specification cars, however, Hamilton was quicker only than Adrian Sutil's similarly Mercedes-powered Force India at the end of the day, and a full 1.3 seconds off the pace of Wednesday's quickest driver, Fernando Alonso (Renault).

Moreover, the Woking based team has again reverted to using a 2008-specification wide and low rear wing, despite two different 2009 wings being fitted to the MP4-24 earlier this week in Spain.

 

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