Pirelli's new hyper-soft tyre compound is expected to result in record-breaking levels of performance during qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.
The new compound was developed specifically for low-grip street circuits and will make its first grand prix appearance in Monaco this weekend. It is effectively two steps softer than the softest compound used in the Principality last year and should result in an all-new lap record at the historic street circuit on Saturday afternoon.
"Expect madness! It will be great!" Renault driver Carlos Sainz said after testing the compound last week. "Already last year with these new cars it was something incredible and this year we have two stops softer compound, and for me the best tyre that Pirelli have done in a lot of years. It's going to be crazy."
Sainz was among the drivers running the hyper-soft tyre at the Circuit de Catalunya during testing last week and is excited to use the compound in a race situation for the first time this weekend.
"It is quite impressive, that tyre, I must say. It is a tyre that easily gives a second per lap. Normally here in Barcelona you arrive in the last sector with a tyre quite on the limit. This tyre around Monaco could be something special. We could see very quick laptimes this year if that's the case. I would be prepared to see lap records again in Monaco for this year.
Pirelli's racing director Mario Isola is confident the hyper-soft will deliver on its promise in qualifying as well as being a good tyre for Sunday's race.
"The mechanical grip of this compound is very high and obviously in Monaco the mechanical grip is very important, more so than downforce," Isola said. "Hopefully it will be exciting and also it will be interesting to see the level of degradation for the hyper-soft on a circuit like Monaco.
"In my opinion I don't expect a high level of degradation because the Monaco circuit is very smooth and not putting a lot of stress on the tyre. That means the hyper-soft is also a race compound and it will be interesting to see what is going to happen during the race.
"The sets selected by the teams are a clear indication that the teams have the same opinion because they selected a lot of hyper-soft compared to super-soft and ultra-soft."