Malaysian GP: Jenson Button feels qualifying tyre gamble worthwhile
|By Ben Anderson||Saturday, March 29th 2014, 13:56 GMT|
Jenson Button says it was "worth the risk" to gamble on intermediate tyres in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, because McLaren is not fast enough in the wet.
The 2009 Formula 1 world champion qualified 10th for the second round of the 2014 season, nearly a full second adrift of Jean-Eric Vergne's ninth-placed Toro Rosso and 1.8s slower than team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who switched to the full wet tyre in the final part of qualifying.
The Brit paid the price for using intermediate tyres in Q3, rather than the full wets favoured by his rivals, but said the gamble was worth taking given the MP4-26's lack of pace in wet conditions at the Sepang circuit.
"Q3 could have been absolutely amazing. But it wasn't," Button said.
"When I did my first lap on inters then came in the pits, at that point if it didn't rain it would have been a good call.
"I put a new hot set on, because I didn't think it was going to rain again, because we'd had such a big downpour.
"It was a bit of a roll of a dice. I went out and it rained. It was the wrong call, but we were in a position where we could take some risks.
"We're not fighting for the front row on wet tyres, so I feel like it was worth a gamble."
Button took full responsibility for the decision and said things could have worked out very differently had the weather taken a different turn.
"I'll take full credit when it works, and when it doesn't work. It's always a team effort, but the final decision was down to me," he added.
"When we went back out on the inter, the team said it was on the crossover point, which it was, which was great. It should have worked out for me, but I had three more laps and it started raining again and it didn't work.
"The lap that I did in Q3 on the inter didn't feel too bad, and there wasn't any standing water. It's so hot here, so with 10 cars running you can very quickly get a dry line.
"If it didn't rain it would have been the right choice. But it did rain."