Mercedes' 2022 W13 Formula 1 car has hit the track for the first time, as their drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took it for a spin at a blustery Silverstone.
The eight-time constructors' champions captured the eyes of the world as they launched their latest contender, the sparkling silver W13, on Friday morning before running it at the British Grand Prix venue in a 100km shakedown as part of a filming day.
Russell couldn't resist commenting on the adverse conditions during his stint: "Yes I’m not too sure how many of you are in the UK at the moment… but I’d say it’s the windiest day I’ve ever experienced in my whole motorsport career.
"It was absolutely crazy, but we managed to keep the car on the black stuff. To be honest we just went through the program of just running it, making sure I’m comfortable - which I am and I’m pleased about.
"The car handled I’d say largely as we expected but equally with these conditions, in the wet, and with the wind, there’s not a huge amount you can take from it. So far we’re in a good place and I think we’re in a good window ahead of Barcelona."
The ex-Williams racer added that the conditions meant that he and the team were taking the shakedown with a "pinch of salt", with winds reaching 100km/h at Silverstone.
"I think the facts are, if you take the exact same car when there’s no wind and then you put it in 100km/h winds it’s going to feel very difficult to drive," said Russell. "It certainly wasn’t easy out there in the conditions but it was certainly in line with what we saw on the simulator.
"I’ll be going back and correlating this afternoon but it is going to be a constant learning process. We’re all going to take today with a pinch of salt, get through the programme, make sure the car runs okay, make sure the drivers are comfortable and make sure we’re in the best spot possible ahead of Barcelona."
Hamilton took over from his team mate later in the afternoon to complete the combined 100km running, the seven-time champion gearing up for a 10th season at Mercedes as he searches for a record eighth title.
Pre-season running begins in Barcelona on February 23-25, where Mercedes and their nine rivals will take to the track in earnest.
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