Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on Pirelli and its new HyperSoft tyre having had his first test with the 2018 compounds on his final day of track action for Mercedes this year.

The newly-crowned four-time Formula 1 world champion notched up 136 laps on the opening day of the post-season Abu Dhabi tyre test, a total of 755km, with a best time of 1m 38.551s to take third place on the timesheet on his last day of tracking running in the title-winning Mercedes W08.

The test provided Hamilton with his only opportunity to get to grips with the new 2018 Pirelli compounds before pre-season testing next year in Spain and relished the new pink-banded HyperSoft, which will make its F1 debut in 2018, but still had concerns the remaining compounds were “still a bit too hard”.

“On early impression, the new HyperSoft is the best tyre that Pirelli have 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.

“I'm not really the biggest fan of testing, but it's been a positive first day of running with these new tyres. We managed to complete plenty of laps and collected lots of data and feedback to ensure we head in the right direction over the winter. We've got a good early understanding of these 2018 Pirelli tyres.

“It's a nice way to wrap up the season, with one last day in the W08. I'm definitely ready to take a break now, though.”

With Hamilton’s test programme complete in Abu Dhabi, race winner at the Yas Marian circuit Valtteri Bottas is expected to take over for Mercedes on the second and final day of the Pirelli tyre test.