New Mercedes takes to track, Hamilton ready to fight for record tying title

SHOWS: SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 14, 2020) (MERCEDES VNR - ACCESS ALL)

1. SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT - MERCEDES DRIVER VALTTERI BOTTAS IN NEW W11 DRIVING OUT OF GARAGE AND DOWN PITLANE

2. VARIOUS BOTTAS DRIVING NEW W11 ON TRACK

3. MERCEDES DRIVER LEWIS HAMILTON WATCHING BOTTAS ON TRACK

4. HAMILTON SITTING IN CAR IN GARAGE

5. HAMILTON PULLING OUT OF GARAGE AND DOWN PITLANE

6. VARIOUS HAMILTON DRIVING NEW W11 ON TRACK

7. HAMILTON INTERVIEW

8. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MERCEDES DRIVER LEWIS HAMILTON AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF WINNING HIS 7TH DRIVERS TITLE, SAYING:

"Just gotta keep going, try and win some more, it's not so easy and each year it gets harder and harder for us as the competition gets better and stronger, and obviously we're still in the same rule regulation period so the others have had time to catch up, try and catch up, so I think you're gonna see the closest season that you've ever seen."

9. BOTTAS INTERVIEW

10. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MERCEDES DRIVER VALTTERI BOTTAS AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT BEING A BETTER DRIVER IN 2020, SAYING:

"For sure you always have to raise the bar, even though it was my best year ever I felt there was still lots of margin to improve in many areas, many weaknesses of mine, and try to make my strengths even better, so it's all fine details here and there but I think we have a good clue based on last year, what kind of things I need to be still working on and what I can do better."

STORY: Lewis Hamilton said he was ready for his toughest challenge ever as his Mercedes Formula One team unveiled the new car that could take him to a record-equalling seventh Formula One title this season.

The 35-year-old Briton pointed to Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas, handed the first laps in the sleek W11 car at a private shakedown session at Silverstone circuit on Friday (February 14), when asked who would be his biggest challenger.

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Monegasque Charles Leclerc, both 22 years old, are hungry to seize Hamilton's crown but the reigning champion said he was expecting a challenge.

Mercedes have won both titles for the past six seasons, an unprecedented feat, with Hamilton beaten only by now-retired team mate Nico Rosberg in 2016, but this season could be the toughest yet.

The regulations are essentially the same, allowing rivals a chance to close the gap further, and Red Bull and runners-up Ferrari both have a more settled driver line-up after making changes in 2019.

Hamilton warned in January that he was going to be on another level this year and would be "a machine" once the season started.

He also said on Instagram that his winter training had been "one of the best" and he had lost five kilos compared to the same time last year.

Other areas were also an improvement.

"I fit in my seat, which is a start," he said on Friday. "Last year I didn't really fit in my seat, so I had to make lots of modifications."

"I think at this time of the year you don't really feel any pressure and it's really just about having some fun," he added. "You're focused but it's really about enjoying the moment."

The Briton is starting his eighth year with the Mercedes works team and he said the buzz around the factory was the same as ever.

"They couldn't be more excited, they couldn't be more enthusiastic or more driven," he said.

"Probably the most impressive thing is that we've had the success and it could be quite easy for them to be laid back today. Everyone's super-focused, there's been so much work that's done in the background to make sure today runs smoothly.

"Everyone seems refreshed, revamped and ready for the challenges ahead."

(Production: David Grip)