Button pins hopes on warmer weather
McLaren driver hopes to benefit from warmer conditions
By Mike Wise in Montreal. Last Updated: 10/06/12 2:23am
Jenson Button admitted he will have to produce a performance almost as unlikely as last year's if he's to challenge in the Canadian Grand Prix.
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The McLaren driver lines up 10th having once more struggled for qualifying pace at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Indeed, Button appeared destined to drop out in session two for the third successive race until Pastor Maldonado, who was on course to set a faster lap, crashed his Williams at the final chicane.
Button had already used all his sets of supersoft tyres in reaching session three and elected to take part on the soft compound prime - the 2009 World Champion later admitting he probably would have been better off not running at all.
"It was good to get into Q3 - it was very, very close - but when you use all your tyres up to get to Q3, getting that far makes it very difficult to challenge everyone else because they've all got brand new supersoft tyres," Button said.
"So we had a choice to make, which wasn't a very easy choice. The outcome wasn't going to be that great: whether to run an old tyre, the supersoft, or a new prime - or not run at all.
"Realistically, maybe we shouldn't have run at all but as a racing team, you want to go out and you at least want to have the chance to qualify further up the grid."
Button will need to produce something extraordinary if he is to win Sunday's race but at least he has the experience of 12 months ago to draw upon.
His comeback from last place to first was arguably one of the most remarkable and inspired victories in Formula 1 history - Button in the process making six visits to the pitlane.
Hot and sunny weather is forecast on Sunday - rather different from last year's deluge. As a consequence, teams have yet to run the Pirelli supersoft in such conditions at a race in Montreal and Button is hoping to capitalise.
"We're starting with a different tyre to everyone else and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It is what it is and we will see tomorrow. It's going to be very hot and hopefully it will throw it up in the air a little bit," Button added.
"We won't be quite sure what the tyres are going to do. Everyone's done a lot of running on the supersoft and soft tyres in cooler conditions, but when it's 28 degrees ambient and the circuit will be mid-40s, high-40s, we really don't know what's going to happen with the tyres.
"We've taken a little bit of a punt I suppose, which I think you have to when you're that far back and we can still have a good race from there tomorrow."
Explaining the decision to send Button out on primes in session three, McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "With the benefit of hindsight, of course, we shouldn't have gone out in Q1 on a set of options so Jenson could have got through without doing a saver. But you know how easy it is with hindsight to come up with that, because you've got all the data. There's a lot of track evolution, you don't know how much anyone's going to find, so we made that decision.
"We ran from that point on, we put Jenson on the back foot. That's how he arrived in Q3 without a new set of options."