Reigning Formula 1 world champions Mercedes have officially unveiled its 2018 car, the W09, as it hunts a record-equalling fifth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ world titles.

This year Mercedes has the chance to match Ferrari’s all-time record of five straight F1 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships secured with Michael Schumacher between 2000-2004. The German manufacturer has dominated the V6 hybrid era with a clean sweep of world titles from 2014-2017 and enters the new F1 season as strong favourites.

Repeating its 2017 season launch, Mercedes has presented its new F1 car at Silverstone in a dual shakedown test and filming day while broadcasting the launch both online and on television.

The F1 world champions name an unchanged driver line-up of Lewis Hamilton, preparing for his sixth season at Mercedes, alongside Valtteri Bottas who retains his place having replaced the retired Nico Rosberg last year.

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 he is set to handover the car to four-time world champion Hamilton in the afternoon.

Having faced its toughest challenge in four years against Ferrari last season, which saw Sebastian Vettel lead the F1 drivers’ standings until round 13 at the Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes has laid out its plans to keep the positive ‘diva’ traits from its 2017 F1 car while refining its handling and consistency.

Mercedes’ W09 continues to run the familiar silver livery with highlights of turquoise while the team has received fresh backing from new sponsor Tommy Hilfiger who has designed the team’s apparel for the new season.

Additional reporting by Lewis Larkam

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