Reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he will be searching to find any potential problems with Mercedes’ 2019 challenger during pre-season testing after enjoying a “smooth” first run.
Mercedes unveiled its W10 on Wednesday and shook down the car it hopes will deliver it a sixth straight constructors’ title at Silverstone, with both Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton taking it in turns to get behind the wheel.
After giving his 2019 car its first run out at the British Grand Prix venue as part of one of Mercedes’ two permitted promotional days, Hamilton said the W10 felt “amazing”.
“It’s like meeting somebody new and trying to understand them as quick as possible - it went smoothly,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News.
“We didn’t have any problems. Naturally, we hope that there will be problems that we come across in testing, rather than the races, so we hope we stumble across them next week.
“Hopefully there’s not anything major but there is a great, great energy within the team, which, after all the success that we’ve had, could have easily dulled down. But it hasn’t, everyone is hyped and raring to go.”
In a short clip posted on Mercedes’ Instagram channel following Hamilton’s first outing, he declared: “I love driving so much, you might be stuck with me [in F1] for a while.”
The Briton insisted he does not see himself as the favourite heading into the new season, despite claiming four of the last five world championships and having won 51 of the 100 races since the start of 2014.
“Every year in my mind I reset everything,” Hamilton added.
“I don’t approach the season thinking I have this stacked up, or that I have all these results, in my mind it’s a fresh page this year.
“Everyone is coming fresh and there’s a lot of young kids coming in, there’s some movement in the structure of the driver line up.
“You know Ferrari and Red Bull and the other teams are working to their core to better themselves because everyone wants to take the crown.
“So every year you have to reinvent yourself and change the dynamics of how you train, how you prepare mentally - hopefully not affecting the core because it’s worked well, but improving and that’s what I’m really trying to build on.
“This year I’m fighting for a championship, I’m not defending.”