Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver still motivated to continue success with team
Lewis Hamilton says he and Mercedes are as motivated as ever this year to continue their success.
Mercedes’ new car had its first run at a private test at Silverstone on Friday.
Hamilton’s Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas will drive the car in the morning before the Briton, 35, takes over in the afternoon.
“It is my eighth year with the team and the buzz is the same every year,” said six-time world champion Hamilton.
“They couldn’t be more excited or driven. That is the most impressive thing.”
After taking over from Bottas in the new W11 in the afternoon, Hamilton said it “felt great”.
“I’ve been doing this a long time but each time you get in, the excitement is exactly the same if not more,” he added.
“It all ran smoothly and we won’t really know until we get to testing 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 (the last race in) Abu Dhabi so that’s a good start.”
Hamilton said there were no signs of complacency of over-confidence from the team as they embarked on what could be their seventh consecutive championship winning year.
“It would be easy to be laid back,” he said. “But everyone is super-focused, excited and revamped and reinvigorated for the challenges ahead.”
The team are permitted to do a maximum of 100 kilometres on Friday before shipping the car to Spain for the start of pre-season testing on 19 February.
Hamilton added: “At this time of year you don’t really feel the pressure; it is about enjoying the moment.
“The guys have worked so hard to put the car together and only two of us get to drive it. It is a real privilege to have that position.”
Hamilton is targeting a seventh world title this year, which would equal the all-time record of Michael Schumacher.
And if he keeps up his win average of the past six years, he will surpass the German’s other record of 91 Grand Prix victories. – bbc.com