F1: Lewis Hamilton 'inspired' by Mercedes team's efforts
PUBLISHED: 13:48 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 24 February 2017
Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is in "a positive place" entering the new season with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team.
The Silver Arrows team launched its new W08 EQ Power+ 2017 challenge at Silverstone today (Thursday).
Speaking at the launch, 32-year-old Mercedes driver Hamilton said: “It’s inspiring how everybody in the team is pushing harder than ever.”
One of the most significant changes for the new season sees Valtteri Bottas become just the fourth Silver Arrows driver of the modern era.
Next to him in the garage will be three-time world champion Hamilton, who comes to the new season refreshed and reinvigorated.
“It’s been a fantastic winter and an exciting training season for me,” explained Stevenage-born racer Lewis of his preparations for the increased physical demands of 2017.
“I’ve added a new element to my training regime that has kept it really enjoyable and I’m in great shape.
“Then I’ve visited the factory and that has been super encouraging to see the way in which everybody is working.
“After all the success we have had, people could be sitting back and resting on their achievements.
“So it’s inspiring to see how everybody is pushing even harder than ever and taking nothing for granted at all.
“This is the most exciting period of the year when the car comes together – and my privilege as a driver is then to get to feel what it’s like and what all the team has worked for.
There’s not too much point setting goals until we’ve really driven the car, so I’m going to go with the flow until we understand the possibilities.
“I’m feeling in a positive place with the team – we talked about a lot of stuff over the winter, I was able to get some things off my chest and now we are communicating better than ever and continuing to grow together.”
Of his new Silver Arrows colleague Bottas, Hertfordshire’s Hamilton said: “I’m the best equipped I have ever been to work with my team-mate and manage the relationship with my experience and maturity.
“I welcome Valtteri to the team and I know that the team will be giving us both everything they can to win the championship.”
New arrival Valtteri Bottas is equally excited at the prospect of the new season:
“It’s a new chapter in my career, a new team, new regulations... new everything!
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this car out on track and, although this is just a filming day, I’m looking forward to starting to test properly next week in Barcelona and to really understand the car that we’ve been given by everybody in Brixworth and Brackley.
“It has been a busy winter for me since signing with Mercedes and we have tried to make the most of the time we have had.
“We’ve been going day by day, making the most of each one, spending a lot of time in Brackley and going through as much stuff as possible with the engineers.
“I feel well prepared in such a short time but, of course, the learning curve is still steep and I’m getting more useful information every day. It’s up to us to make the most out of the time together.
“In terms of my physical preparation, I think I have done the most amount of training of any winter so far. I have done some good training camps and feel in the best shape I’ve ever been, definitely ready for the season ahead.
“Right now, it’s a very exciting feeling for me. I want to say a big thank you to everyone in our factories for getting this car ready to go. It’s been a massive effort and I’ve got a lot of respect for the shape we are in at the moment.
“But it’s only the first step - and this is where the work really begins.”
The W08 EQ Power+ will begin its testing programme in Barcelona on Monday, February 27.
In order to maximize potential mileage across the fortnight of testing, the drivers will complete half-day sessions in the car as per the team’s practice in 2016.
The schedule for the first week of testing will see Bottas in the hotseat in the morning of February 27 with Hamilton taking on driving duties in the afternoon.
The order will swap on Tuesday, February 28.