Mercedes W09 makes track debut at Silverstone in shakedown

Craig Slater and Ted Kravitz take a look at the first glimpse of the new Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have put the first miles on Mercedes’ new W09 car at the world champion’s Silverstone shakedown.

Bottas gave the challenger its debut in the morning before world champion team-mate Hamilton got his first taste of a car he has described as a “work of art”.

Sky Sports viewers got the world-first look at the car as it took to Silverstone’s pit lane in the video at the top of the page.

However, it appeared that the W09 was hit by an early teething problem as it stuttered out of the Mercedes garage for Bottas’ first run, with a swarm of Silver Arrows mechanics then summoned to push the car back to base.

Mercedes’ mean and moody 2018 car revealed

After a short recess, the W09 then returned to the track with both drivers experiencing the car around the British GP venue either side of the team’s formal launch at midday.

Bottas said of his opening run in the W09: “The first few laps in these kinds of conditions and the wet tyres it’s difficult to draw any conclusions but what was positive is that everything was working well, nothing felt strange, everything was working as it should, the car wasn’t doing anything funny and it was responding to everything so it’s a start.”

Hamilton later tweeted:

Speaking at Mercedes’ Silverstone launch event, team boss Toto Wolff said the team’s designers had attempted to keep the positive aspects of last year’s W08 while curing the negatives that led him to christen it a “diva”.

“We’ve tried to preserve what we had in terms of speed in the car and find more drivability,” he said.

“The concepts are very different [with other teams]. You can look at solutions but we have in the last years tried to stay true to our design philosophy and continue to develop.”

Mercedes wary of Red Bull and Ferrari threat
The new Mercedes has a lot to live up to – its 2017 predecessor won 12 races last year and was on pole position for 15 of the 20 races.

F1 in 2018: The new cars revealed

Ferrari and Red Bull are again expected to pose the biggest threat to Mercedes’ dominance of F1 but team boss Toto Wolff is also keeping an eye on the sport’s sleeping giants.

“If you would have asked us the question this time last year we would have sad Red Bull and it was Ferrari,” said Wolff.

“It’s very dangerous before the season has started to reduce the number of potential competitors.

“Ferrari is very strong, Red Bull is very strong.

“I’m very curious how McLaren is going to perform with the Renault engine. And the step up the works team has made. Williams has gone very radical.”

Pre-season testing begins at Barcelona on Monday with dawn-to-dusk commentary available on Sky Sports’ Digital platforms.

Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.

Source.