Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez both resisted debuting Pirelli’s new pink-banded HyperSoft tyre during the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test but were content with the progress made on the 2018 compounds.

The Silverstone-based team’s test driver Nikita Mazepin trialled the HyperSoft during his full day of track action on Tuesday and set a personal best lap of 1m 39.959s on the new compound. However, neither Ocon or Perez used the softest compound tyre available during their split testing schedule on the final day at the Yas Marina circuit.

The pair ran near-identical testing programmes, with Ocon in the VJM10 in the morning before handing over to Perez for the afternoon, but set their fastest times on the red-banded SuperSoft.

With Pirelli predicting next year’s tyres to be two steps softer compared to the 2017 tyres, Force India ended the test pleased with the information gained despite not using the HypeSoft on Wednesday.

“Trying the 2018 tyre compounds was very useful and has helped our preparation for next season,” Ocon said. “We learnt loads about the tyres and, even though I didn’t get to test the new HyperSofts, I was able to do short and long runs on the other compounds I tried.

“The conditions on track weren’t perfect: it was much warmer and windier than during qualifying and the race, but it was still good enough to give us useful information.”

Despite all F1 teams running independent testing programmes at the Yas Marina circuit, both Ocon and Perez notched up times to see Force India remain the fourth-fastest squad behind the Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull even though the majority of its rivals set fastest lap times using the new HyperSoft tyre.

Pirelli chief Mario Isola has predicted the new HypeSoft tyre to be up to one second quicker per lap than the purple-banded UltraSoft.

“The new Pink hypersoft meets our initial expectations, with times that are about a second per lap faster than the Purple ultrasoft, but this obviously needs to be confirmed on other types of track as well,” Isola said.

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