Jenson Button reckons a lack of running on the intermediate tire during Friday’s practice sessions lead to his low starting position for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
He managed to post a competitive lap time during the first segment of qualifying ” less than a second off the ultimate pace ” when track conditions were at their best, but suffered when the rain became heavier during Q2. The Briton puts this down to a failure to experience similar conditions during practice as the team wanted to preserve their allocation of intermediate tires.
“We sat out most of practice to save the tires,” said Button. “It seemed like the right thing to do, but we haven’t run on intermediates in the wet, only in the dry.”
“I struggled in Q2 because there was so much water on the circuit, and I think we’ve proven it was the wrong call to save the tires.”
Button starts the final grand prix of the season in 15th place and is staring down the barrel of his first winless season since 2008. He confessed that he is glad this year’s campaign is coming to an end and is eager to put it behind him.
“One more day of pain and hopefully we can start work on a good car for next year,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to the end of tomorrow’s race.”
Teammate Sergio Perez crashed out during the latter stages of Q2 after losing the back end over the curbs at Turn 5. The Mexican attributed a lack of tire pressure to his swift exit from the session.
“We made a mistake with the tire pressures because the car was not responding at all,” he said. “I was trying to improve on my final lap, but I couldn’t find any grip at all. The crash looked far worse than it was.”
Perez starts his final race for McLaren ahead of Button in 14th position.