Jenson Button backs tyre decision after qualifying tenth for Indian Grand Prix
Jenson Button expects an "unpredictable" Indian Grand Prix tomorrow after qualifying in tenth place.
The Frome Flyer showed some good pace as he set the fastest time in the first qualifying session but his McLaren team chose to use the Prime tyres for the third and final session - the same tyres with which he will start the race.
Although that decision slowed Button down, he expects that it will prove correct when racing gets under way tomorrow.
“Running the Prime in Q3 was probably the best strategy call for the race," said Button. "Of course, that hurt, because my heart was telling me that I ought to be out there [in Q3] on the Option.
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“Our qualifying runs on the Option looked really good – I was quickest in Q1 – but the Prime tyre didn’t work as well for us.
"I found it more difficult because I couldn’t get any temperature into the tyre, so I was about half a second off in the first sector on my run in Q3.
“Still, running the Prime was probably the right thing to do, and I’m sure it’s the best tyre for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to an exciting, eventful and unpredictable race.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that it was important to resist the temptation to focus only on qualifying and is pleased that his drivers will not be starting on the Option tyres.
He is also optimistic of a successful race given the speed that Button and team-mate Sergio Perez have shown at times during practice and qualifying.
“Qualifying today was clearly dominated by the teams’ tyre considerations for the race tomorrow," said Whitmarsh.
“It’s always tempting to take a short-term view – if we’d gone for the Option tyre in Q3, we could potentially have been halfway up the top 10 – but I don’t think we’d be headed into tomorrow’s race feeling comfortable had we done that.
“Fundamentally, it was about doing the best thing for the race tomorrow. And, if the experience of the last few days is borne out tomorrow, then we’re probably happy that we’re not starting the race on the Option.
“For tomorrow, we’ve very much focused on putting ourselves in the best possible position for the race. We’ve got two very good racers, both of whom have shown impressive flashes of speed this weekend, so I think we’re looking at a competitive showing tomorrow.”