Lewis Hamilton heaped praise on Pirelli’s hyper-soft Formula 1 tire after completing his first test on the new compound in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, calling it “the best tire that Pirelli has produced since returning to F1.”
Pirelli unveiled two new dry compounds for the 2018 season in Abu Dhabi last week, with the hyper-soft becoming the grippiest yet shortest-lasting compound in its range.
The pink-walled compound was given a first test in Abu Dhabi by all 10 teams earlier this week at the official test session, with Hamilton singing its praises.
“On early impression, the new hyper-soft is the best tire that Pirelli has produced since returning to F1,” Hamilton said.
“I found that the other compounds are still a bit too hard for my liking, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
Besides the hyper-soft, Pirelli has also released a new compound at the other end of its tire range called the ‘super-hard’ that is unlikely to be used frequently next year.
Hamilton featured in the Abu Dhabi test for Mercedes on Tuesday, finishing third-fastest as Kimi Raikkonen led the way for Ferrari.
Having wrapped up his fourth F1 world title this year, Hamilton is now set for an extended stint off racing, with his next in-car duties for Mercedes planned in February with the launch of its 2018 car before pre-season testing.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.