Jenson Button admitted his gamble on intermediate tyres during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix was the wrong call but insists it was worth the risk.
While every other driver in Q3 went straight out on the full wet tyre, both McLarens opted for the intermediate and Button decided to stick with that choice after his installation lap. With rain falling intermittently throughout the final part of qualifying, Button eventually finished 4.5s off the pace in tenth place but said McLaren was in the right position to take such a gamble.
“Q3 could have been absolutely amazing, but it wasn't,” Button said. “When I did my first lap on inters and then we came in the pits at that point if it didn't rain I think it would have been a good call. I put a new hot set on because I thought it would be good at the end of the session and I didn't think it was going to rain again because we'd had such a big downpour.
“It was a bit of a roll of the dice and I went out and it rained – especially around the back of the circuit – so it was the wrong call. But I think we're in a position where we could take some risks. We're not fighting for the front row on wet tyres so I think it was worth for me … I feel like it was worth a gamble.”
With the team only completing nine laps in total in FP3 and neither driver setting a representative time, racing director Eric Boullier said it was only a small issue which required the team to be cautious while it investigated.
“This morning we had a small issue with one part of our software obviously linked to some sensors,” Boullier said. “When you have the engine going in to a default by auto-protection we had to understand what was going on.
“You don't want to change the engine or blow up the engine in practice three, so this is why we have been cautious in what we were doing. But we found out after the session what was wrong.”