Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free shakedown run at the wheel of Mercedes’ 2020 car at Silverstone, reporting that the new contender felt just as good as the car he raced in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year.
Both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas were given track time onboard the new car at the Silver Arrows squad’s presentation on Friday morning.
Ahead of a season during which Hamilton aims to clinch his seventh world title and equal the record of the great Michael Schumacher, the Briton gave his team the thumbs up but warned that only pre-season testing will reveal the W11’s performance relative to its rivals.
“I’ve just come out from being on the track. I’ve been doing this a long, long time but every time you get in, the excitement is exactly the same, if not more,” Hamilton said.
“The car felt great. Obviously there’s so much work that goes into building this car, you’re only one of two that get to drive it.
“So you’re really trying to pay attention to your surroundings, the seating position and the feeling you’re getting back from the steering column and the balance, a little bit of the balance you’re trying to get a feel for.
“But it’s not that easy with the track not being perfect. But it all ran smoothly, we won’t really know until we get to testing how good of a machine it is in terms of how big of an improvement it is.
“But it didn’t feel like a big departure from where we were in Abu Dhabi, so that’s a good start.”
First day back at the wheel with #W11
How does it feel to be back, LH?
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 14, 2020
Bottas had the honour of giving the W11 its track debut, and the Finn was equally encouraged by his first impressions of his new mount.
“Initial feeling is good and everything works – that’s a start,” he said.
“Nothing really wrong with the car at this point obviously as its just checking the systems and making sure everything works and getting the first feel for the car.
“It’s a good feeling, I’m sure there’s still lots of feedback I can give to the guys and lots of data to go through in the next few days before testing and to make some improvements before Barcelona.
“But to see the W11 alive and the team has done so much work to get to this where we can just go straight out from the box.
“I’m really proud to be driving that and getting the feel and I’m proud of every team member,” he added.
“A good day and I couldn’t ask for a much better Valentine’s Day than this and now I’m looking forward to testing.”
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