Formula 1

Mercedes 2019 F1 car launch among Lewis Hamilton’s best first days

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Lewis Hamilton hailed his debut run in the new Mercedes W10 Formula 1 car as a “great first date” and one of the best starts the team had ever made.

Mercedes used up one of its filming days to let Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton get a first run in their 2019 challenger at Silverstone on Wednesday.

It released an onboard video of Hamilton giggling and saying how “amazing” the car felt during his first installation lap, and the reigning world champion said he was delighted with how things had gone.

“It was a great first date, probably one of the best ones that we’ve had in all these years,” said Hamilton.

“But what has been most impressive is seeing the car coming together last night, which is always impressive to see. And then to see how smooth today has gone.

“There are things we can continue to work on, but so many people worked tirelessly to pull this car together, and to see it come to the test and go out, get through the programme we needed to and get the filming done is great.

“For me it is crazy, because I have been racing a long long time, it’s my seventh year with the team, but the excitement I had today was the same I had when I first got in an F1 car, which is really weird and I was not expecting that.”

Bottas got the chance to test the car for the first time in the morning and said that the team had taken positives from the shakedown, as well as understanding things that needed to be addressed for the start of pre-season testing at Barcelona in Spain on Monday.

“Being the first ever to drive a new Formula 1 car is very cool,” he said. “I feel very privileged and it was nice to get a bit of a feel.

“It was a shakedown, so it is not a proper test, but everything was working fine already. We have found some things we can improve for the testing, and found some positives.”

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