Jenson Button believes McLaren maximised MP4-28's pace in German GP qualifying

2009 Champ also not ruling out starting race on soft tyres

By James Galloway.   Last Updated: 06/07/13 5:09pm

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Jenson Button believes McLaren should be pleased with returning to Q3 for the first time in three races at the Nurburgring and suggested it is not a given that he will start Sunday's race on medium tyres.

Following two point-less races for the Woking team, and the admission that the bulk of their development focus would now be shifting to their 2014 car amid their ongoing difficulties with the MP4-28, Button made clear to Sky Sports News on Friday that outqualifying the in-form Force India team was McLaren's main target for qualifying.

That aim was achieved courtesy of Button's first Q3 appearance since Monaco, as surprisingly neither Force India made the top ten, and the 2009 World Champion felt McLaren should be pleased with his ultimate ninth-place grid slot.

"P9 doesn't look that great - but I think it is," Button told Sky Sports News.

"I think we've done a good job with what we have this weekend and should be happy with that."

Although Button did take to the track in the final shootout, he opted not to set a lap time and will share the fifth row with Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, who adopted the same tactic.

The move means the Briton now has a free tyre choice at the start of Sunday's race and in such a situation teams usually opt to complete a longer first stint on the weekend's more durable 'prime' compound, which in Germany is the medium.

However, Button insisted that McLaren would assess the respective merits of completing the first stint on the less durable soft too overnight before making a final decision.

"We will look at the benefits of both tyres tomorrow," he said.

"Normally when you don't run in Q3 everyone things you're going to put the prime tyre on, but that's not necessarily the case.

"With an option tyre if you do three less laps it can make a big difference in the race if you start on a new one.

"So we've got a lot of things to weigh-up this evening and decide."

Button starts behind both Ferraris but expressed surprise at their decision to send both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa out in Q3 on the option tyre.

Massa lines up seventh ahead of Alonso - who later said they felt that they didn't have the ultimate pace of their rivals, even though the Brazilian went fastest in Q2.

Yet Button reckoned Ferrari would have been better off splitting their strategies.

"I understand the reason why they're running the prime but a little bit surprised by them both running the prime and both setting a lap time, because Fernando is behind Felipe," he added.

"I thought they would have put Felipe on an option tyre and chuck him right at the front as he was quickest in Q2."

Remember you can watch the German GP live from the Nurburgring with a Sky Sports Day Pass from NOW TV. For more information, visit

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