MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — After attracting almost universal criticism during offseason testing, Formula One tire supplier Pirelli was happy with the performance of its new 2013 season tire in Friday's practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembrey said the softer medium tire was lasting 22 to 24 laps, while the super soft was shaping as an ideal compound for qualifying.

He said after European winter testing, "which was not particularly good from a tire perspective," it was "really pleasing" to see a more reliable performance in the warmer weather of Melbourne.

Hembrey predicted the teams would ideally be using a two- to three-stop strategy in Sunday's race, although cooler conditions were expected Saturday and Sunday.