Formula One racing's official tyre supplier said a new rear tyre construction, allied to the teams' various performance gains, meant cars were around two seconds per lap faster at last weekend's race than in 2014. The best lap of the Grand Prix - a 1m 30.945s set by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton - was 1.5s quicker than last year's.
"These figures underline what we expected to see following pre-season testing: a significant reduction in lap times, with cars that will only get faster as the year goes on," Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said.
"We could even see some new lap records on certain circuits.
"With this in mind, we have introduced evolutions to the rear structure of all our 2015 tyres this year, in order to give them greater capability in handling the extreme demands placed on them."
The most likely circuits for new lap records - based on fastest race laps in 2014 - are Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, the Circuit of The Americas in the United States and Interlagos in Brazil. Of that quartet, the closest gap came in Singapore, where Lewis Hamilton's 2014 best of 1m 50.417s was 1.8s off the lap record.