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Wolff: Hypersoft is a qualy tyre usable for only one lap

The fact that neither Lewis Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas used Pirelli hypersoft compound tyres during the eight days of testing in Barcelona was deliberate as the world champion team believe that the tyre was good for one hot lap and as this was not on their agenda in Spain they never ran the pink band tyres. 

The top five times set in Barcelona on the last couple of days of testing were set by drivers using the hypersofts, but Mercedes elected not to run the tyres at all.

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Bottas and Hamilton set their best times on ultrasoft tyres but were 1.2 seconds off the top time set by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. The Silver Arrows duo focusing on race simulation runs and race pace, with no regard for setting top times.

Wolff explained, “We decided not to use the hypersoft because we felt it is a tyre that is usable for one lap only, and that in testing it is about collecting data and understanding set-ups.”

“The hypersoft is just an additional big step in grip from the ultrasoft. It will be a qualifying tyre, and we felt that we would rather concentrate on the development work than on single lap.

“I think the hyper will be a qualifying tyre only, and you just need to hang onto it in the first couple of laps, and survive.”

Observers point to tyres blistering on the Mercedes W09 during longer stints, but Wolff downplayed the issue claiming that it was afflicting all the teams.

He also doubted that the lap time gap between the various compounds does not tally with the bigger difference in times that Pirelli expected, “What we have seen is that the steps in performance and in grip between the tyre compounds was relatively small.”

“Between medium and soft, soft and supersoft, supersoft and ultrasoft you could see tiny steps, between a tenth or two, sometimes no step at all. With some teams, like Williams, there was no step at all.”

And reasoned that the ultrasofts “would only last one lap” around Circuit de Catalunya.

“They are grippier, based on what we know, so I don’t think there’s a risk. We decided to focus on the tyres that are most likely to be [used] on that type of track,” added the Mercedes team chief.

2018 Formula 1 Barcelona testing statistics