Jenson Button admits he was confused by the strategy that allowed him to secure his first podium finish of the 2011 F1 season in Malaysia.
Button moved forwards through the field as the race wore on and was able to complete a final 19-lap stint on hard tyres as he clinched second behind Sebastian Vettel; with the Briton having got quicker as the race wore on.
The McLaren man admitted that the performance of the Pirelli tyres during the weekend had made it difficult to follow the different strategies in play throughout the field although he insisted that the MP4-26 had 'come alive' when he made the switch to the harder rubber.
Button also admitted that it had been tricky to work out when to push and when to conserve the tyres during the race.
“It was a really confusing race in a way, trying to understand the pitstops and whether it was worth looking after tyres or not through the stints,” he said. “So it was pretty tricky. Then, the last stint, when we put the prime tyre on, the car came alive and I had so much more grip. I had a feeling that the tyre wasn't going to go the same way as the soft tyre and my pace was much better in the last stint.
“I had the team telling me to back it off and look after the tyres but in a racer's mind you want to push as hard as you can as you want to try and catch the leader. Even though it was not really on, you have still got to give it a go, so I had a lot of fun out there and great to get 18 points.
“The thing is it's very difficult to understand what to do with the tyre. If you try and preserve it sometimes you make the situation worse as you are not carrying as much speed through a high-speed corner and then you get less downforce and you damage the tyre more, so it is a very, very tricky situation to be in.”
Button added that, despite it being hard to read what was happening in the race, the increased degradation from the Pirelli tyres was improving the show.
“From what I heard, the race was pretty good,” he said. “There were people all over the place which is good, isn't it? Was it better or not? I was in the car, I don't know. It is complicated, and I think at this point of the season it's going to be because there's a lot that we're trying to learn ourselves on the circuit. If we had one tyre for the whole race and didn't have pit stops, would it be exciting? I don't know.
“I think that it's the correct thing to do, to make the tyres that they have and I think Pirelli have done a great job of actually getting tyres that have degradation in the time that they've had to build these tyres. I think that in the time they've had to build these tyres they've done a very good job. I think it made the racing exciting today. For me, I didn't know who was going to finish behind Seb. I did in the end, which is great. I think it's working well and I think that as the season goes on we will realise and understand the tyres a little bit more every race. The races will calm down, but hopefully not too much. Hopefully, they will still be exciting.”