Lewis Hamilton took to the track for the first time since pre-season testing in March on Wednesday, driving a car two-years-old as his Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team concluded their two-day test to prepare for the new season.
With teams unable to test 2020 cars or bring out cars from last year, Mercedes took their W09 to Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Valtteri Bottas driving on day one before handing the car over to the defending World Champion.
Hamilton admitted there is always a buzz when leaving the garage for the first time, and despite the car being two-year-old, he was not disappointed and felt no rustiness despite far from ideal track conditions early in the day.
“When you leave the garage the first time, you get this buzz, and it doesn’t matter how many years you do it, it always feels new and fresh,” Hamilton said in an online video from Mercedes. “Obviously this is an older car, but it still felt fantastic.
“We got through a solid programme today. Valtteri’s day was dry, my day started of wet, so quite a greasy Silverstone track. But obviously I grew up in this kind of weather, so I’m used to it. I was still able to get a good feel of the car. “
Despite the lengthy gap between driving, Hamilton was positive after his day in the car, feeling he got back up to speed quickly. He admitted there were some concerns heading into the test, but they were quickly dispelled once he got back behind the wheel.
“I didn’t feel like I’ve ever left the water, so that’s a positive,” said Hamilton. “I think every time you take a big break – I think it’s been 103 days or something – you always wonder whether you can still drive.
“So it’s a good feeling to know of course I can, I’m ready, I feel fit. I hope you guys are all well and excited for what’s coming up.”