Mercedes seek to climb a mountain with 'motivated' Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton said he was 'mega-motivated' as Mercedes presented a heavily-revised car for the seven-times world champion's last season before he moves to Ferrari.

Mercedes finished second overall in 2023 but the former champions failed to win a race for the first time in 11 years, with Red Bull winning 21 of 22 and Max Verstappen taking his third title in a row.

Hamilton, 39, announced this month that he would be leaving at the end of the season after signing a multi-year deal.

The Briton said, in an online launch before the first laps at Silverstone circuit on Wednesday, that it had been an emotional time and it felt surreal to be starting his 12th season with the team.

"We are all mega-motivated for the year ahead and will be giving it everything we’ve got on the journey ahead," he declared.

Team boss Toto Wolff said once-dominant Mercedes faced a big challenge to get back to the top.

"We know it's difficult, we know it's a big mountain to climb because if a team is far ahead like the Red Bull was last year, that's not easy," he explained.

"But we have a superb driver combination, hopefully a fast car, the best people in the factory that are giving it all in order to succeed and I think there are some very good ingredients to be back in the front again."

The W15 car has a silver nose, marking the 90th anniversary of Mercedes' famed 'Silver Arrows', plus the familiar red, green and black of recent seasons.

Hamilton's team mate George Russell said he just wanted to get behind the wheel to see how it performed.

"We’ve learnt and grown as a team over the past two seasons," he said. "It’s not been plain sailing, but I truly believe the journey we’ve been on will make us stronger in the long run."

Technical director James Allison said last year's weaknesses had been addressed with a big focus on improving the unpredictable and 'spiteful' rear axle and making it more reassuring for drivers.

"At the beginning of a corner when you're hard on the brakes and turning in, the rear needs to feel rock solid," he explained.

"And then as you get towards the apex, the car needs to feel progressively more nimble, and eager, to turn. We have been trying to build that into the car.

"I feel like we have delivered on all the things we said we wanted to do," added Allison. "We will not know until we run the car truly. But I think we can say that we feel like we have worked well."

The season starts in Bahrain on March 2.

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