Australian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button reckons that quick thinking in the pits and being flexible on strategy will be vital in Sunday's race at Sepang, after admitting that he still does not know which Pirelli tire compound will perform better in the race.
Button, who once again qualified second to McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.15sec, said that the extreme heat and humidity has made it impossible to predict the rate of tire degradation on the medium and hard tires Pirelli has brought to Malaysia.
"It's a tough one for us," he said. "Physically it's tough, but also it's tough on the tires, and for strategy because the humidity and the heat is so high that you really don't know how long the tires are going to work. So you really have to be thinking on your toes, and I think we are pretty good at that.
"Going into the race it is so difficult to know what to do in terms of the set-up, in terms of the front wing, the tire pressures. You can get it so wrong and then you are screwed really, and that's not down to looking after the tires, it's down to having the wrong balance. So a lot of hard work tonight to work out where we should be for tomorrow's race. And strategy we have really got to think on our toes because at the moment we don't know which tire we should be using for most of the race."
Button added that while he naturally felt confident of his chances of making it two from two starting as he is from the front row, he feels that the unpredictable nature of the race and the blend of strategies around him means that he doesn't know how much of a factor his ability to manage tire degradation will be.
"It is something that I work on but I am not the only driver that works on tires to try and control degradation so we will see," he said. "These are very different tires to what we've run before and it's so hot here so we will see what happens.
"And there are some different strategies up and down the grid. Sebastian Vettel will be on the prime tire. When it gets to the first pit stop, who knows what tire we are going to put on? We don't.
"There are so many different strategies that could play out during the race and because of the temperature we don't know which tire is quicker yet in race trim. It's going to be about thinking on your toes and whoever does that and is really confident in their decisions is the team that is going to win the race tomorrow."
Button said that he wasn't too disappointed to miss out on pole to Hamilton and revealed that he knew exactly where he had lost the time.
"Obviously, it's always a shame when you are so close and yet so far from the guy that's on pole and also your teammate," he said. "Lewis as we all know is extremely quick and I just couldn't get that tenth and a half.
"I know exactly where it is and it's been there all weekend – at the exit of Turn 2. I just can't find the pace there. For some reason I just can't go around that corner!"