While still maintaining that McLaren is behind on pace compared to the other front-runners, Jenson Button is hopeful that he’ll have an advantage for race day on Sunday in Shanghai after utilizing the medium tires during the final round of Saturday’s qualifying sessions.
“All the guys in front will be starting on grained soft-compound tires, and I think we’re going to see the high-fuel graining on the soft [tires] that we saw in practice [Friday], so it’s going to be an extremely interesting race,” said Button, who will start alongside Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo in Row 4.
“The first 10 laps tomorrow are going to be eventful; if I can get a good start, I’ll hopefully be able to find some clear air in front of me, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Button’s slow timed lap of 2 minutes, 5.273 seconds in Q3 was by design in an attempt to make up spots on the grid during the aforementioned opening stint of the race.
“It’s such a difficult call,” Button explained. “The racer in you wants to go out…In Q2, we were relatively quick — P7 was a slight surprise, we were quicker than we expected. I felt we got everything out of the car.
“We went for the prime direction. It was a bit of cat and mouse at the end to see who actually does a lap.”