Lewis Hamilton says he is 'never surprised' by what his McLaren team does after it turned the MP4-26 into a front-running contender in time for the opening round of the new F1 season in Australia.

The team made a series of radical changes to the car ahead of the first round of the year after a difficult time in pre-season testing, where both Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button suffered a series of problems with the car and were unable to match the pace of the front-runners.

However, at Albert Park, Hamilton was able to finish second in the race behind Sebastian Vettel having qualified on the front row of the grid and he insisted that he hadn't expected such a strong performance in Melbourne.

"It's a good starting point, especially given we never really thought we'd be in such a strong position so early on in the season," he said. "Before the race, I'd said that it was important to get some points on the board early in the season. I think it's already pretty clear that it's going to be a long and tough championship, so you can't afford to drop points.

"Every race is going to be important, so while I'd always prefer to win, Sunday was pretty much a 'perfect' result for us - perfect in the sense that we scored good points, and we feel we're going to be stronger in the next races."

Hamilton added that there was still plenty more to come from the team as it looks to take the fight to Red Bull in the title race but said he wasn't surprised by anything McLaren can pull out of the bag to make improvements.

"In a way, I'm never surprised by what the team does, because they always seem able to do impossible things!" he said. "Of course, going into this race we weren't certain about our performance - we were optimistic, because our simulations were showing a significant improvement, but you never know until you finally get to the track. I feel really comfortable with this car - I'd always said the car felt good, we just lacked a bit of downforce and some decent mileage during the winter tests - and I feel like it's a car that is easy to push to the limit, so I'm very hopeful of what will be coming along to add to its performance down the line.

"We've got two weeks until the next grand prix, so we'll be pushing through some more improvements. We got a lot of data about the car this weekend - and we've only just started to exploit this package. What I think will be interesting is how the engineers are able to go back to the factory and understand just what we have and how we can improve it."



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