Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton says the new hyper-soft compound he trialled in post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix testing is the best Pirelli has produced since its return as tyre supplier.
Pirelli announced during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that it would be switching to a wider, seven-compound range of 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" and added compounds at both ends of the scale.
As a result, the pink-walled hyper-soft has replaced the purple-coloured ultra-soft as the softest option available.
Hamilton was among the drivers to try out Pirelli's 2018 range on the first day of the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.
He said the rest of the compounds on offer were "still a bit too hard", but was full of praise for the new hyper-soft.
"We've got a good early understanding of these 2018 Pirelli tyres," said Hamilton.
"On early impression, the new hyper-soft 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 Mercedes "collected lots of data and feedback to ensure we head in the right direction over the winter".
He finished the day third fastest, just under eight tenths down on Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who set the best time of the day on the hyper-soft.
The Finn admitted he did not 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.
Quizzed specifically about the ultra-soft and hyper-soft compounds, he added: "It [the feeling] was good, obviously they have good grip around here, and it was for sure a faster tyre."
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