Hypersoft "the best tyre" since Pirelli's F1 return - Hamilton
Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken highly of the new hypersoft compound he trialled in Abu Dhabi testing, calling it the “best tyre” Pirelli has produced since its return to the sport.
Pirelli announced during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that it would be switching to a wider, seven-compound range of F1 dry tyres for next year.
The Italian company, which has served as F1's exclusive tyre supplier since 2011, has moved all of its existing range “one step softer”, while also adding compounds at both ends of the scale.
As a result, the pink-walled hypersoft has replaced the purple ultrasoft as the softest option available.
Hamilton was among the drivers to try out Pirelli's 2018 offerings in the first day of the post-Abu Dhabi GP test, and while he felt that the rest of the compounds on offer were “still a bit too hard”, he was full of praise for the new hypersoft.
“We've got a good early understanding of these 2018 Pirelli tyres,” Hamilton said.
“On early impression, the new hypersoft is the best tyre that Pirelli have produced since returning to F1.
“I found that the other compounds are still a bit too hard for my liking but we're moving in the right direction.”
Hamilton logged 136 laps of the Yas Marina Circuit on Tuesday and said he and the Mercedes team “collected lots of data and feedback to ensure we head in the right direction over the winter”.
He finished the day third in the timesheets, just under eight tenths down on Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who set the best time of the day on the hypersoft.
However, the Finn admitted he didn't feel “a big difference” using the 2018 range of tyres.
“I don’t think there’s a big difference, it’s a small difference,” Raikkonen said. “It didn’t feel like a lot of difference.”
Quizzed specifically about the ultrasoft and hypersoft compounds, he said: “It [the feeling] was good, obviously they have good grip around here, and it was for sure a faster tyre.”
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov
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