Jenson Button said it hurt to use the harder tires to qualify for the Indian Grand Prix, as he felt his pace on the soft rubber was very strong.
Button posted the quickest time in Q1, but McLaren decided to use the medium tires to qualify in Q3 so the Briton would start the race with those.
After taking 10th on the grid, Button conceded it was probably the right strategy call despite the frustrations involved.
“It probably is the right strategy call, but it hurts,” said Button. “The option running was really good: quickest in Q1 and I think I was second in Q2 with the old tire. It was looking quite good, so it hurts to be on the prime tire.
“I find it really difficult on the prime tire because I couldn’t get any temperature in the tire, so I think I was half a second off in the first sector.”
He believes that even if the strategy gives him an early advantage as faster cars ahead pit to promptly get rid of their softs, retaining that ground will be hard.
“The idea is that everyone will pit after five or six laps and then we’ll have clear air, but I’m sure I’ll see them again at some point,” Button said.
Teammate Sergio Perez qualified right in front in ninth place, the Mexican regretting the decision to use another set of tires just to fight Button.
“It looked like a fight between the McLarens, as Fernando [Alonso] was three tenths away and I don’t think I could have found that,” he said. “So on that side it was a bit frustrating because we could have saved tires and started with new ones. But I still think we have a good strategy for the race.”