Jenson Button will be ruing the fifteen-place grid penalty for the Monaco Grand Prix after making it through to the top ten shootout on Saturday, but will drop to the back of the field thanks to taking new components on his engine.
The Briton is replacing Fernando Alonso in the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team this weekend as the Spaniard focuses on the Indianapolis 500, and the 2009 World Champion was able to push all the way through qualifying.
Button admits he has been struggling to get the best out of the new 2017 Pirelli tyres this weekend, but he was happy with being able to make it all the way to Q3 in his first race weekend since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” admitted Button. “Practice was fine, but in qualifying you reach a point where you really need to fine-tune the car’s performance, and that’s still a bit of a learning curve for me.
“This year’s tyres are completely different to last year’s in terms of how they work; how they fade away; how they last. It’s been tricky trying to find those last few per cent.
“But I’m happy – in my one and only race this year I qualify ninth… and start 20th! I never expected to have this opportunity, so this is a great memory for me: driving around Monaco in these monsters, such great machines. I’m very lucky.
“I’ll take that ninth position home with me at the end of the weekend – I should be chuffed to bits with that.”