Ross Brawn says he has no regrets about not pitting Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for fresh intermediates at the end of Q3, a strategy that helped to propel Sebastian Vettel and the two Ferraris to the head of the field.
Hamilton and Rosberg had to settle for fourth and sixth, having looked stronger earlier in the session.
“We’d obviously considered it before the session started,” said Brawn of the alternative strategy. “We’d seen some indications that the intermediate both held on and maybe even improved as it wore down, but I don’t think that seemed to be the case. It was as simple as that.”
Nevertheless Brawn says he’s happy with the way the Malaysian weekend has turned out thus far.
“I don’t think we were able to see the full potential of the cars in the dry, but I think we’re certainly top six in terms of our cars. So I think it’s a measure of where we are right now that we’re disappointed with fourth and sixth. Fourth and sixth would have been very welcome in the second half of last year, this year we’re a bit disappointed.
“We’re in that group. I don’t think we’re the fastest team, but we’ve made some encouraging progress, and we’ve got to keep pushing hard to keep progressing, because the pace of progress at the front is ferocious. We’re going to keep working hard to keep bringing new improvements to the cars.
“What will really count is where everyone is tomorrow, how they’re using their tyres, how they’re getting the most from them, good strategy, so on and so forth. The next measure will be tomorrow.”
Asked if he would be disappointed to still be fourth and sixth on Sunday, Ross said: “It would be OK. There are worse positions, and there are better positions. I think the drivers have worked really well this weekend, and the engineers have worked really well to have the car that we want to have. If that all comes together in the race, then fourth and sixth probably would be a bit of a disappointment.
“It’s difficult to speculate where we will end up, but we’re not in a bad place. We spent a lot of time getting the car dialled in for the race, and if that carries through – and it doesn’t always carry through, you get different conditions on a Sunday, and you suddenly find the car you tuned to heat the sweet spot doesn’t hit the sweet spot on Sunday. If it doesn’t then with these tyres, you can start to struggle. But if we carry that through, we should have a good race.”