Jenson Button suspects that qualifying second for the United States Grand Prix might be better than starting on pole position.
The McLaren driver believes that the run out of the second slot on the grid at the Circuit of The Americas is a little flatter than it is for first, meaning that whoever qualifies there could have an edge on the charge to the first corner.
"I think P2 is actually probably better than P1," said Button. "It has a little more of a flat run up the hill, whereas P1 is straight into the hill."
Button expects the start of the race to be fraught given that most drivers will be blind to the apex at Turn 1. The run from the start to the first corner features a steep hill and he fears that there could be some incidents at the start.
"I think so," he said when asked if he expected some first-corner chaos. "You're going to want to qualify well here, because people are going to be trying unusual things into Turn 1.
"The trouble is that we will all get there and we won't have a clue where the apex is – because the only driver who will know will be the car on the inside [at the front], because he's the only one who will be able to see it. The rest of us will be in no-man's land, so a good start is important.
"Also, coming off the startline straight into a hill, the braking point is very different.
"When you brake two meters later up the hill, it's like braking one meter later on a flat surface, so there are going to be a lot of people playing around with braking and not many are going to get it right into Turn 1 at the start."
Despite much of the Austin track being characterized by elevation changes, Button suggested that the drivers will only really feel it at Turn 1.
"I don't know how much we will feel of the elevation change," said Button. "Turn 1 will be quite extreme, but the rest I'm not sure we'll feel because we're going so fast."