Mercedes gets first run on 18-inch tyres in Abu Dhabi

Reigning World Champions Mercedes have trialled Pirelli’s prototype 18-inch wheels for the first time, ahead of the impending switch for 2021.

Formula 1 will switch from the current 13-inch size to 18-inch for 2021, as part of a raft of overhauls being implemented in the championship.

Pirelli began testing with Renault and McLaren at Circuit Paul Ricard earlier this year, and on Sunday Mercedes was the next time to try the enlarged sizes.

George Russell, who ran for Mercedes during Wednesday’s group tyre test action at Yas Marina Circuit, got behind the wheel of the modified version of the W10 once more for Sunday’s private test.

Williams racer Russell, part of Mercedes’ driver scheme since 2017, completed 100 laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit.

As per the regulations Pirelli dictates the run plan for the test while all data gathered is shared between each team, ensuring that no-one gains an advantage.

Russell will remain behind the wheel of Mercedes’ 2019-spec mule car, which was converted from Valtteri Bottas’ race chassis after last week’s test, on Monday.

Formula 2 will switch to the larger sizes in 2020, a year ahead of Formula 1, with Ferrari tester Antonio Fuoco adding more mileage to the junior category's mule car earlier this week.

Pirelli will remain as Formula 1's sole tyre supplier through at least 2023.