Pastor Maldonado says the Mercedes engine's delivery of power is what separates it from last year's Renault and has been instrumental in pushing Lotus forward ahead of the 2015 Formula 1 season

The Venezuelan driver spent a year struggling with the Renault powertrain in the Lotus last season but is delighted with the advances of the new Mercedes PU106B Hybrid motor following a positive pre-season testing programme.

Indeed, he says the Mercedes power is easier to handle and gives the driver much more confidence push the car harder.

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"The engine is not complicated, it is easier but you still need to adapt yourself," Maldonado said. "I've felt no pressure to adapt, because it is easier to adapt with more power. Compared to Renault there is obviously more power but it is not about the amount but more about how it delivers the power."

Maldonado was able to notch up 139 laps on the second day of the final test in Barcelona with a fastest time of 1m 26.705s, putting him P6 for the day. The Lotus driver feels it is too early for direct lap time comparisons and prefers to focus on how much of the programme the team has been able to complete with the Mercedes power unit.

"When you are more confident in the car you can push harder," he explained. "The car feels more compact with a very good balance and still something we can work around. It has been easier to get more mileage and therefore try more aerodynamic things which is very positive."

Despite the positives Maldonado says the team still needs to continue to push to catch up its competitors and is targeting a return to finishes in the points.

"We feel we can catch our rivals in Australia. Perhaps not Mercedes but those teams behind them we will try. We still need to improve the car overall. Then when we do that I can improve as a driver."