Mercedes’ shiny new F1 car, the W10, was out on circuit at Silverstone for its first shakedown this week ahead of winter testing – and according to Lewis Hamilton, the team enjoyed one of their best-ever first days of running in the seven year he’s been a Silver Arrows driver.

    Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas took to a sunny Silverstone track for a pre-season filming day, limiting their running to just 100 kilometres on unrepresentative demonstration-spec tyres. Despite that, Hamilton looks to be heading to winter testing in Barcelona with a spring in his step, after what he described as a ‘great first date’ with his new W10.

    Mercedes W10: All the angles of the 2019 F1 car

    “It was a great first date, probably one of the best ones that we’ve had in all these years,” said Hamilton. “Of course there’s 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, just go out and get through our programme as we needed to and get the filming done, it’s great.

    “And I tell you, for me, it’s crazy, because I’ve been racing a long, long time – it’s my seventh year with the team, and the excitement I had today was the same as I had when I first got in a Formula 1 car, which is really weird. I was not expecting that but I’m happy that I have that.”

    HAMILTON: "The excitement I had today was the same as I had when I first got in a Formula 1 car"

    Bottas was the first Mercedes driver to sample the new W10 – and believes the team have already found areas where the car can be improved ahead of testing.

    “Being the first person ever to drive a new Formula 1 car is very cool,” said Bottas. “I feel very privileged and it was nice to get a bit of a feel. Obviously it is a shakedown, so it’s not a proper test but everything was working fine. Definitely found some things that we can already improve for the testing, found some positives and everyone seems happy. The car was running without issues, so good to be back at it.”

    Next stop, then, is Barcelona, where official winter testing will begin on February 18 – and after a great first date, all the teams will be watching anxiously to see if love blossoms between the W10 and its drivers.

    BOTTAS: "Being the first person ever to drive a 2019 Formula 1 car is very cool"