Valtteri Bottas took the honour of being the first driver of the new Mercedes car, the W09, yesterday.
Bottas was given a run in the car ahead of the official launch, on Thursday morning at a damp Silverstone circuit. He said it’s an ‘incredible feeling’ to have driven the new challenger for the first time, and, despite not running at qualifying speeds, he said the car already feels ‘better’ than its predecessor.
The 2018 season sees the addition of the halo head protection device on all cars. Bottas said the device didn’t affect his driving, and that he’d already acclimatised to it by running with it on in Free Practice sessions throughout the 2017 season. Mercedes shared the view from Bottas’ visor, as the Mercedes W09 made its track debut:
Meanwhile, the Finnish driver sent a warning to team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Speaking after the launch, Bottas, who joined the Mercedes team last season, said he’s feeling more confident ahead of the 2018 season than ever before. When asked if the four-time World Champion should worry about the ‘2018 Valtteri’, the Finn replied in jest, saying that “It’s up to him. But if I was him, I would.”
Pre-season testing begins on Monday. The 2018 season begins on 25th March in Melbourne, Australia.