Lewis Hamilton, having recently acquired a new Formula One car, a new private jet and a new dog – most of us have experienced only one of these things – had a smile on his face here which was close to serenity.
"I'm just happier," he said, which may have the folks at McLaren spluttering in their cappuccinos, but he really meant it. "I can't really explain it," he added on Monday, after driving his Mercedes W04 for the first time. "I'm happy I've got this new massive challenge, happy that I've got a new start, happy this is a new, fresh chapter in my life, happy that I've got this excitement. I don't know if the car's going to be good, I don't know if it's going to be bad. But I'm excited because I know I can contribute and, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, I think we can get there and I'm happy about that."
When asked if he had learned any German he said he had mastered a single expression: "Wunderbar."
There was a certain incongruity about his joy because he is expected to be driving a car which is slower than his old one at McLaren when the new season starts in Melbourne on 17 March. And unsettling rumours persist about McLaren's technical director, Paddy Lowe, joining the German team, with the Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn, possibly losing the internecine war with the non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda.
Hamilton's pay-day – apart from the £60m he is being paid over three years – is more likely to come next year, when Mercedes are expected to be among the front-runners with the new V6 engine. In the meantime, his happiness can be explained by the fact that a difficult decision has been made, for he was genuinely torn both ways last year.
He seemed happiest of all, though, when talking about his new British bulldog. "Roscoe's my new best buddy. I always wanted a dog. I've got him a passport, so he's going to travel round with me, and I've asked Bernie [Ecclestone] for a pass."
And the car? "It still feels like a Formula One car. It's got lots of different switches and buttons that I have to get used to. All the different procedures and terminology, that's what I'm focusing on mostly.
"It's a bit like starting all over again. I remember in 2006, going into 2007, having to learn all these new controls [at McLaren]. It's all fresh and new again. On this steering wheel I've got at least double the amount of controls I had. I've got rid of some of them but I've still got way more than I had before. I've got to learn a lot in a short period of time. I anticipate going into the first few races still learning a lot. But I feel positive. I'm not disappointed."
Doubts persist concerning Hamilton's ability to make Mercedes "great again", as he said he would at a snowbound Brackley last month. Hamilton, essentially, is a speed merchant and Mercedes need to add something more fundamental, more organic, to their set-up before they can become world champions.
As the most obviously gifted driver out there, he will give the German team an immediate lift and is capable of brilliance, and even winning races, wherever he drives.
Meanwhile, Lowe will remain at McLaren for the coming season, according to Brawn who himself does have a future with the Mercedes team, with Toto Wolff, the motorsport chief at the team, insisting that stability is required.
"It would be foolish to take assumptions now, or take some things as fact," said Wolff. "I need some time to meet the people, speak to the people and get an overview, but I think what the team needs utmost is stability.
"We are just ahead of a difficult season, a very important season for the team, so let's keep the ball flat at the moment and see how it develops." The odds on Lowe ending up at Mercedes after this season remain extremely short, however, even if that is a year away.
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image: © David Wall