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Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button happy with McLaren Mercedes cars

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As the first practice session for the Formula One Grand Prix got under way in Australia, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button suddenly looked much quicker in their McLaren Mercedes cars.

After some fairly poor testing sessions in pre-season, the Woking-based team decided to scrap the elaborate exhaust system on the car and use a simpler design.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh suggested earlier this week that the change could gain the team around a second a lap.

The early signs have been good, with Jenson Button setting the fastest time of any car in practice, with Hamilton close behind.

Button explained: "The new exhaust has definitely brought performance to the car - it feels much better, makes the handling more 'complete'."

Formula One is subject to a number of rule changes this year, with the addition of a moveable rear wing and the re-introduction of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System to aid overtaking.

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