Mercedes releases 2018 F1 contender

Mat Coch

Thursday 22nd February, 2018 - 11:05pm

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Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes W09

Mercedes has released its 2018 Formula 1 contender following a shakedown test at Silverstone.

Valtteri Bottas took the driving duties as the team used a filming day to give the car its first run on track, with Lewis Hamilton taking to the circuit later in the day.

The Mercedes W09 sports an evolutionary livery, maintaining the silver and teal design it’s featured since returning to the championship as a manufacturer in 2010.

The Brackley-based squad has claimed the last four constructors’ and drivers’ world titles, though last season faced increased competition from a reinvigorated Ferrari.

Even still, the Anglo-German team cruised to the constructors’ crown, while a strong second half to the year saw Hamilton wrap up his fourth drivers’ title with two races to spare in Mexico.

Bottas remains with the team on another one-year deal, winning three races and finishing third in the championship standings, just 12 points off Sebastian Vettel in second in his debut season with the squad in 2017.

Mercedes won 12 races during last year’s campaign, including eight of the last 12 grands prix from Austria to Abu Dhabi.

The team has won 63 of the 79 grands prix held since the introduction of the current engine regulations at the start of the 2014 season.

Those regulations remain fundamentally unchanged heading into the 2018 season, though teams will be restricted to just three power units over the course of the year, down from four in 2017.

Mercedes joins the rest of the F1 fraternity at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain on Monday for the first of two pre-season tests.

VIDEO: Valtteri Bottas takes the Mercedes W09 on track for the first time

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