Michael Schumacher says he is feeling like he is making his Formula 1 debut again after returning to testing action in current GP machinery at the Valencia circuit on Monday.
The seven-time world champion took to the Spanish circuit in the afternoon to complete his first laps at the wheel of the new Mercedes W01. Schumacher immediately showed he has lost none of his speed, finishing the day as third quickest, over half a second ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The German admitted he was feeling like a kid with a new toy. "In a way it is like 1991, honestly," Schumacher told reporters after the test. "When I came into F1 I was shocked on the first lap and extremely excited on the second lap and further laps. And it is exactly the same today. "I feel like a young boy that has a toy in his hands and enjoys himself."
Schumacher, who has moved to Mercedes after 13 years working for Ferrari, said it was weird to see the red cars on track without him in them. "Naturally I suddenly see my old car on the track and not sitting in it, it is a strange sensation," he added. "But it was good to see my brother [Massa] on the track, in the car and I enjoyed seeing my friends down at Ferrari this week."
The Mercedes driver, who managed 40 laps himself, was very pleased with the work done during the day.
"I think we have done a very good job. The guys did a superb job out there, being out there making a few control checks and making the car reliable. We did more than 80 laps, and for the first day that is a superb job."
And Schumacher said he felt no physical problems whatsoever despite fears about his neck. "I am fine. I have worked out very well and prepared myself extremely precise and that is the result."