Lewis Hamilton has tested Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres that will be used in the 2022 Formula 1 season.

The seven-time world champion became the latest F1 driver to have his first taste of Pirelli’s prototype rubber on at Imola on Tuesday, after Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz kicked off the Italian tyre manufacturer’s test programme at Jerez in February.

Two days after recovering from a rare mistake to take second place behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton returned to action for Mercedes as he got to grips with the 18-inch compounds in a 2019 mule Mercedes.

Hamilton completed 55 laps of the Imola circuit on Tuesday morning and is continuing to test the tyres this afternoon, before handing over to teammate Valtteri Bottas on Wednesday.

Nine of F1’s 10 teams - all bar Williams - will get to test the 2022 prototype compounds ahead of their introduction next season.

They were originally intended to be used this season but have been pushed back until next year along with sweeping regulation changes that were postponed for cost-saving reasons as a direct result of COVID-19.

Ferrari had a second test following the season-opener in Bahrain and was joined by Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

Alpine, Red Bull and Alfa Romeo will test the 18-inch tyres again at Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix in May, while Mercedes will conduct a wet weather test at Paul Ricard the same month, before carrying out a further test at the Hungaroring in August.

 

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