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Hamilton completes 2018 Pirelli tire test at Paul Ricard

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Just four days after becoming Formula 1’s first back-to-back winner in 2017 and taking the lead of the drivers’ championship for the first time, Lewis Hamilton was back behind the wheel of his Mercedes W08 to take part in a Pirelli tire test at Paul Ricard.

As part of an extensive testing program for next year’s tires that features all 10 teams, Mercedes kicked off two days’ worth of running at Paul Ricard on Thursday.

Not known for being a prolific voluntary tester, Hamilton flew into Paul Ricard in the morning by helicopter before completing a series of runs on Pirelli’s prototype tires.

Hamilton completed 114 laps in total at Paul Ricard, with the circuit confirmed to be joining next year’s F1 calendar when the French Grand Prix returns.

Hamilton will hand over testing duties to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on Friday.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.