Lewis Hamilton feels ready to race when Formula 1 returns in Austria next month after getting his first laps in over 100 days during a private Mercedes test.
The Silver Arrows took a W09, its 2018-spec car, to Silverstone for two days of running in order to prepare for the first grand prix of the season.
Hamilton had not driven since pre-season testing in February, and said in a video posted on social media by Mercedes, “Honestly, it felt just great to be back in the car, a lot of fun.
“When you leave the garage the first time you get this buzz, and it doesn’t matter how many years you do it, it always feels new and fresh, which is great. Obviously this is an older car but it still felt fantastic.
“In general, we just got through a solid programme today.
“Valtteri’s (Bottas) day was dry, my day started off wet, so quite a greasy Silverstone track. But obviously I grew up in this kind of weather here, so I’m used to it.
“But I was still able to get a good feel of the car.
“I didn’t feel like I’ve ever left the water, so that’s a positive.
“I think every time you take a big break – I think it’s been 103 days or something – you always wonder whether you can still drive.
“So it’s a good feeling to know of course I can, I’m ready, I feel fit. I hope you guys are all well and excited for what’s coming up.”
The test was not only a chance for the drivers to get their eyes back in, but also for the wider Mercedes-AMG Formula One Team to practice the various coronavirus-related protocols which will be in place at the Red Bull Ring.
That circuit will host the Austrian Grand Prix and the Styria Grand Prix on July 3-5 and July 10-12 respectively.