Mercedes completes initial running of 2023 F1 car

Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of the Mercedes 2023 F1 car

Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of the Mercedes 2023 F1 car

The Mercedes F1 team has completed the initial running of its 2023 car, the W14, at Silverstone.

Eight-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and team-mate George Russell both had time at the wheel following the car’s launch on Wednesday.

Russell was the first to take the wheel, doing so in damp conditions before Hamilton got his chance later in the day.

Combined, the pair logged 100km on the National Circuit at Silverstone.

“It has been great to get up and running with the W14. It is always a much-anticipated moment for everyone at the factory that has been working so hard; I’m incredibly grateful for all the effort that has gone in,” Hamilton said.

“The day has been smooth; we got through a good programme, and we’ve come away with some useful findings. I generally felt comfortable in the car and I’m excited to get going in Bahrain.”

Russell added: ” It’s great to get on track with the W14. It was very cold and greasy out there today, but the car ran smoothly, and we completed all the laps we are permitted to do.

“We know pre-season testing in Bahrain will be the first real test of the car.

“Nevertheless, it looks great out on circuit and the feeling from within the car is so far, so good.”

Mercedes has been downplaying its chances heading into the new season with team boss Toto Wolff suggesting it could be several races before the W14 is a contender.

That comes after a difficult 2022 campaign which started slowly, the W13 plagued by porpoising issues.

While the team believes it has resolved many of those early gremlins it remains cautious about its chances.

“We’ve had a solid start to the programme for W14,” said Andrew Shovlin, the team’s trackside engineering director.

“Conditions weren’t great for filming or running but we completed the permitted 100km without any issues, and both drivers have been able to give us a good assessment of their first impressions of the car.

“Bahrain will be very different to a cold, wet Silverstone but everything seems to be working well.

“Hopefully we can hit the ground running next week and maximise the three days of pre-season testing that we have.”

Testing in Bahrain begins next Thursday, ahead of the opening round on March 2-5.

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