WATCH: New Mercedes feels ‘great’ says Hamilton after first run in W11
Lewis Hamilton got behind the wheel of his 2020 Mercedes on Friday – and the six-time champ said the new car felt “great” after he completed a shakedown at Silverstone.
The Brit was the second to sample the W11 after his team mate Valtteri Bottas drove it out of the garage for the very first time earlier in the day,. And speaking after his laps – which he drove while sporting a brand new helmet design – Hamilton said the run was “a good start”.
“I’ve been doing this a long, long time, but each time you get in, the excitement is exactly the same, if not more,” he said.
“The car felt great. There’s so much work that goes into building this car, so you’re only one of two that get to drive it, so you’re really trying to pay attention to the surroundings, the seating position, the feeling you’re getting back from the steering column and the balance.
“It all ran smoothly and we won’t really know till we get to testing to just how good a machine it is, in terms of how big 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.”
The news that the car felt good and ran well is ominous news for Mercedes’ rivals, who have had to watch the Silver Arrows scoop up both world championships for the last six seasons in a row.
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The W11 could prove to be a significant car in the history of F1, with the chance of giving Mercedes a record-extending seventh double world championship – and giving Hamilton himself his own seventh drivers’ title, which would see him equal the tally of the great Michael Schumacher.
Seeking to stop them, meanwhile, will be key rivals Red Bull and Ferrari – and we’ll get the first sense of whether they can when pre-season testing begins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 19.