• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel's pace 'phenomenal' - Button

ESPNF1 Staff
April 16, 2011 « Vettel: We start from zero | »
Jenson Button congratulates Sebastian Vettel in parc ferme © Sutton Images

Jenson Button has admitted Sebastian Vettel's pole position lap time at the Chinese Grand Prix was simply out of reach for McLaren.

He had looked within striking distance of Vettel during free practice but the world champion stepped up a gear with a new fastest lap of the Shanghai circuit in the final session of qualifying. Button secured second place, 0.715 seconds off the Red Bull, but cut his second run in Q3 short in order to save mileage on his tyres.

"In the heat of the moment I think you always hope that it's possible, but the pace in Q3 of Sebastian and the Red Bull was phenomenal," Button admitted. "In Q2 it looked like it was possible and that's why I chose to run with two sets of soft tyres in Q3 to see if we could, and then I saw Seb's time and was like 'OK, we're maybe going to have to fight for second place'."

After qualifying fourth at the first two rounds of the season, Button said he was pleased to get on the front row of the grid at Shanghai.

"It's nice for me to get my best grid slot of the year," he added. "From where we were on Friday I don't think either of us were really that happy with the balance, but I think we've improved the car a lot and we should be happy with what we've achieved today.

"I think the team did a great job of turning the car around in the last two days and a big thanks to them. I also had a little surprise when my girlfriend rocked up before qualifying which was maybe a helping hand."