Mercedes’ 2018 Formula 1 challenger has hit the track at Silverstone, as the first images of the W09 surfaced.

The reigning F1 world champions are conducting a dual shakedown test and filming day at the British Grand Prix venue, before officially presenting its 2018 challenger later on Thursday.

Valtteri Bottas was the first to debut the W09 during a short run at Silverstone. The Finn carried out a series of laps on the damp track in the morning before handing over the car to four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon.

Mercedes has the chance to match Ferrari’s all-time record of five straight F1 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships won between 2000-2004, having enjoyed a spell of domination at the top of F1’s pecking order in the V6 hybrid era that began in 2014.

It’s Halo-shod W09, which will be driven by Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas for the upcoming season, sticks to the traditional silver colours of the Mercedes brand, as well as featuring strands of turquoise and blue.

The German manufacturer heads into the new campaign as strong favourites, despite facing a significant challenge from a revitalised Ferrari spearheaded by Sebastian Vettel in 2017.