Mercedes have unveiled the car Sir Lewis Hamilton hopes will take him to a record-breaking eighth Formula One world championship.
The sport’s all-conquering team have carried over their predominantly black paint job from last season, updated with a flick of silver to represent the team’s traditional colours.
Hamilton, 36, is this year bidding to move one title clear of Michael Schumacher in what could be the British driver’s final campaign in F1.
Hamilton, who last month signed only a one-year extension, will be partnered by Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes for a fifth season.
“The launch day of a new car is always a really exciting one,” said Hamilton ahead of his 15th season.
“It’s great to reveal to the world the result of everyone’s hard work at the factories and to see some of my team-mates in person, which has been so rare during the past year.
“I’ve been in touch with the engineers through the winter, keeping track of their preparations as I prepare myself for the season ahead. The excitement has been building and building, so now I just can’t wait to get out on track in the W12.”
Testing for the new season gets under way in Bahrain a week on Friday before Hamilton opens his bid for an unprecedented eighth championship in the Gulf Kingdom a fortnight later.
With few changes to the rulebook over the winter, Hamilton’s Mercedes team will start as the favourites to complete a remarkable eighth drivers’ and constructors’ double.
Team principal Toto Wolff said: “Every winter, there are always indications that someone else might have done a better job, so we must keep pushing.
“That scepticism and hunger drive us and get us fired up for every new season – because the scoreboard goes to zero and there’s always more performance to be found.”
On his driver pairing, the Austrian added: “The consistency we’ve had within this team over the years has been a real strength and advantage.
“As we’ve seen in past seasons, it’s a line-up that works well for us, with two incredibly strong drivers who also have a very professional working relationship together.
“Both are hungry and fired up to get back racing again soon and we’re all looking forward to seeing them drive our new car in anger for the first time in a few weeks.”
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