Lewis Hamilton says he cannot remember having a better first day of pre-season testing in Formula 1 after notching up a marathon 156 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The defending F1 world champion produced almost twice as many laps as his next nearest rival, Marcus Ericsson in the 2015 Sauber who completed 88 laps, and recorded a mammoth two-and-a-half race distances.

The only mark against a perfect day for the Mercedes driver was missing out on top spot on the timesheet as he lost out to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by half a second, albeit without using prime tyres or seeking outright single lap speed.

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Second on the timesheet hasn't fazed the three-time F1 champion and says the flawless introduction of the W07 was the ideal way to rediscover motivation and sharpness for the new season.

"It's been an amazing day," Hamilton said. "I've never had a day one practice like today. To get in a new car and have so little - actually, no problems - is just a remarkable job done by the team. So for me it was just encouraging, there was no need to find motivation, the motivation was to get the car as far as possible in terms of distance because that means it puts us in good stead for this year's season. 150 laps is quite long here that's for sure."

Hamilton says he and Mercedes solely concentrated on putting in the mileage on the new car to collect data ahead of beginning work on refining the package and hunting optimal set-up. The Brit has reiterated his satisfaction at the day's workload and says he can't think of a year he's had a better opening day.

"I've been driving a long time so I don't remember every single year. I'm certain this is the most impressive first day I've had," he said. "I think this is the most distance we've done as well. Second maybe. If you look back at first days that I've had such as 2013, maybe 2014, had those glitches with the brakes so it was nice to have a clean day without any issues with the car and really go above and beyond as we did there."