Jenson Button has admitted the decision to stay out on slicks in the first quarter of the Brazilian Grand Prix was very touch and go and that he was in constant contact with the pit wall in order to try and make the right choice.
Button eventually emerged victorious at Interlagos, but at one point it looked like would be a straight duel between him and Nico Hulkenberg after they both gambled and decided not to stop for intermediate tyres in the early stages. That put them around 40 seconds clear of the rest of the field, until the Safety Car was deployed and the buffer was lost.
“It was one of the toughest races I've had. It was very tricky. It was on that point many times when you think inters is the right tyre. I kept asking the team: 'What's going to happen with the weather: it's supposed to be light showers?' Well OK, we'll see how we go but it was so, so difficult,” remarked the McLaren man when asked about his tyre strategy post-race.
“You're locking up tyres here and there but you've just got to push to the limit. You have to wait for the team to give you the information about all the other people on inters so it's not just about driving the car at that point. Y'know, you need every single piece of information that's out there to know that you're doing the right thing. But it was a really good race.”
And just how annoying was the safety car deployment on lap 23?
“Obviously things were made more difficult with the first safety car. I lost 40 seconds, the race was between me and Nico then. It was made a lot more difficult,” JB added. “Then when the safety car came in I grained the front-right tyre. I really struggled but when that went away it was good.
“The two guys in front obviously had a coming together, which helped things but in that sort of race you never really know what the outcome is going to be.
“We still had a lot more rain coming. We still had to make the right call on the pitstop again, which I think we did, and then we just tried to hold the gap really to the Ferraris, which was about 20 seconds, which was difficult in itself, because there was so much water out there for inters.
“But, overall, I really happy with the end result. I want to congratulate the whole team.”
Button's focus will now turn to next year and he is already feeling bullish about his prospects: “This is the perfect way for us to end the season. We started on a high and we've had ups and downs, but to end on a high is fantastic. It bodes very well for 2013..."