Bruno Senna believes that anybody making proper use of a two-stop strategy during Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix will have a big advantage over those stopping three times.

Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli is expecting most drivers make three stops during the race, with the heat and humidity at Sepang causing high levels of degradation to the medium compound rubber. But after qualifying, Williams driver Senna said that if a car can be set up to look after its tires well, then the time gained through not making a third stop will more than off-set any pace loss during a stint.

When asked whether a two-stop strategy was possible at Sepang, Senna said: “It will depend on the tire wear. We have a good car in terms of tire management and if you can gamble and make a two stop work then it can be a big advantage.

“We know that an extra [third] stop is a penalty, so we now have to sit down and check with the strategy guy whether we’ll be able to do it or not. It’s a tough call, just like trying to do one stop in Melbourne, but if you can make it work, it will pay off big time.”

Senna will start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid – two places and 0.3sec behind his Williams teammate Pastor Maldonado. He said that he was unconcerned after being outqualified by his former GP2 rival for a second race in a row, adding that the race is all that matters in terms of championship points.

“We understand that Pastor’s been here for a year and he’s very good at getting a quick lap out of the car, so there’s no particular pressure on that,” Senna said.

“They’re expecting us to be very close to each other in the race, and that’s what I think will happen as well. But qualifying is a very special affair. Having a good relationship with the engineers and knowing the team well has an impact on the decisions you make for qualifying and the race. We’re getting there.”

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