Hamilton hopes to sign new Mercedes deal before start of season

Hamilton was in the driver's seat and was captured speeding down one of the straights

Hamilton was in the driver's seat and was captured speeding down one of the straights

For its first ever photo shoot, the W09 took to the track at Silverstone with Valtteri Bottas calling dibs on being the first one to get behind the wheel first.

Speaking at Mercedes' Silverstone launch event, team boss Toto Wolff said the team's designers had attempted to keep the positive aspects of last year's W08 while curing the negatives that led him to christen it a "diva".

"I'm not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off", said Wolff. It looks quite similar but inside, underneath the shell, and even the bodywork, it's all refined to perform even better than it did previous year. There is no reason to rush anything, no panic, I'm not feeling under any pressure of any other drivers in there and Toto [Wolff, team boss] and Mercedes have no reason to feel that I'm talking to anybody else.

Bottas will be racing for his future as one of a number of drivers - along with Hamilton and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo - whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

The four-time world champion team is the seventh team to reveal its 2018 challenger, following Haas, Williams, Red Bull, Sauber, Renault and Toro Rosso.

"It is more hard [to climb out], definitely, and it takes a bit more time, but with practice you will definitely get better at it". It's just about talking out the details.

While Hamilton was addressing questions about his performances off the track, his 2017 rival Sebastian Vettel was busy facing ones about Ferrari's display on it, having managed to throw away the title last season when unreliability wrecked Vettel's chance to fight Hamilton and clinch what would've been his fifth drivers' championship.

"I hope they don't get much heavier, but I think next year the seat and driver can be 80kg". Despite the concept originally being suggested by Mercedes, Wolff has urged the FIA to come up with a better-looking solution as soon as possible.

Describing the new W09 after a run on the Silverstone circuit, Hamilton said, "This is better than last year's vehicle in every aspect".

Hamilton will get his first proper taste of this year's Mercedes at next week's opening winter test in Barcelona before the curtain raiser in Melbourne on March 25.

"It's something we've known for some time now that it's been coming and I think after a few races we'll forget that it's even there".

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