McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes that his outfit did make the right tire strategy call in the Italian Grand Prix, even though Jenson Button reckoned it had made a mistake.
Button lost the lead of the Monza event when he made his mandatory pit stop one lap before Fernando Alonso – and afterward he questioned whether his team had made the right decision.
Reflecting after the race, Button's boss Whitmarsh thinks that the race had swung not on when the stop was made - but on how the stop and laps around it were executed. The stop itself was 0.8sec slower than Ferrari.
"We were obviously looking for a gap," said Whitmarsh about how his team made the decision on when to stop. "We could see that as the cars behind cascaded in and onto the prime, the prime was quicker. And, at that point, you want to get onto the quicker tyre as quickly as possible.
"With Ferrari behind us there was only three ways it was going to go. We either were going to get in in front of them, and had they not come in that lap we would have been able to beat them. It would have been nice for them to have come in at the same time as us, but that would have been a foolish thing for them to do and they didn't unfortunately. Or, if we had stayed out and they had come in first, then they would have beaten us by more. So we made the right call.
"We were a few tenths slower in the stop and I think Fernando was quicker. So it was two or three metres the wrong side when we came out."
Whitmarsh believes that the difference between Button having been able to hold onto the lead, and him losing it to Alonso, was small.
"You could see ultimately it was down to two or three meters and we would have done it," he said. "You can excuse it anywhere – quicker on the in-lap, a quicker stop or quicker on the out-lap, plus Jenson locked up a bit coming into the pit lane. But the fact is we lost it.
"Strategically, we didn't have another choice, we made the right strategic call, so did they – and that is why with a quicker car they beat us."