Lewis Hamilton has selected the most aggressive Pirelli tyre options for the 2018 Formula 1 season opener in Australia with just one set of the soft compounds.

The reigning F1 champion begins his title defence at Albert Park where Mercedes were roundly beaten by Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel 12 months ago to trigger the intense title battle over the opening two-thirds of the season.

Hamilton has opted for just one set Pirelli’s yellow-banded soft tyres – the hardest compound option available for the Australian Grand Prix – in order to maximise his allocation with three sets of red-banded supersofts and nine sets of purple-banded ultrasofts.

Pirelli’s 2018 F1 tyres are effectively two steps softer compared to last year after the Italian tyre manufacturer was accused of going too conservative with its compound constructions which saw the majority of races completed with just one required pit stop.

With less durable tyres more pit stops per race are targeted in order to open up strategy options to shake some added excitement into F1 races for 2018.

Hamilton’s teammate Bottas has opted for one additional set of soft tyres compared to the four-time F1 world champion at the expense of one set of supersofts.

Ferrari has been much more conservative with its picks as both Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen select three sets of softs, three sets of supersofts and seven sets of ultrasofts, while the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sit in between with two softs, three supersofts and eight ultrasofts.

F1 rookie Sergey Sirotkin is the only driver to match Hamilton’s strategy with identical tyre picks for Williams and at Haas Romain Grosjean has just one set of soft tyres with four supersofts and eight ultrasofts.

A full breakdown of each F1 driver’s tyre picks can be found here:

Pirelli tyre picks, 2018 Australia Grand Prix,

The 2018 F1 season opener, the Australian Grand Prix, takes place on March 25th.

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