Hamilton & Bottas raring to go after Mercedes test Covid-19 measures

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Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are both eager to start racing after hitting the track at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-day outing came as Mercedes tested the coronavirus protocols and measures that will be used when the 2020 Formula 1 season next month.

It also gave the drivers a chance to get back in the groove after the prolonged break and Hamilton, who drove what was the 2018 car due to testing regulations on Wednesday, felt like he'd never been away.

"Honestly it felt just great to be back in the car, a lot of fun," he said afterwards.

Lewis Hamilton F1

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"I didn't feel like I've ever left the water, so that's a positive. 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.

"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, which is great.

"Obviously this is an older car but it still felt fantastic. In general, we just got through a solid programme.

"Valtteri's day was dry, my day started off wet, so quite a greasy Silverstone track. But obviously I grew up in this kind of weather here, so I'm used to it. I was still able to get a good feel of the car."

After he ran a day earlier at the British circuit, teammate Bottas was equally positive and excited to be back in the cockpit.

“Today I think it was a very helpful day for the team,” said the Finn.

“Obviously everyone being out from racing and the garage environment for a long time, and there are many new regulations, and we need to be cautious with different things for health. It was good to practice that.

“I think we learned a lot during the day, how to do things more efficiently and make sure everyone is going to be safe once we eventually start racing.

“I loved to be back in a car, and now I can’t wait for Austria, and to be back racing again very soon.”

While all appeared normal when the Mercedes was out on track, the impact of coronavirus was evident by the measures taken in the garage.

“You’ll see a lot of people wearing masks, we’re doing that on any occasion we can’t maintain a two-metre distance,” chief engineer Andrew Shovlin commented.

“But also in and around the garage we’ve got everyone separate now so there’s good space in between them.

“The difficult bit is on the car when the mechanics are there doing the turnaround, that’s when it’s probably hardest to keep that gap between everyone.

“Coming here everyone got tested. The race team at the moment doesn’t have anyone with the virus.

“So we’re quite confident with those procedures we can keep the team safe, and the sport can continue, and we’ll have some successful races come next month.”