• Bahrain Grand Prix - FP2

McLaren further back than anticipated - Button

ESPN Staff
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Jenson Button expects McLaren to be behind Force India again in Bahrain © Sutton Images

Jenson Button admits he is braced for another fight lower down the order after seeing several other teams made good headway in Friday practice.

With lower temperatures and less high-speed corners in Bahrain, McLaren fancied its chances to improve on its pace in Malaysia. FP2 was the first session run under the same conditions as the race and Button believes it only highlighted how much work McLaren has to do to catch the likes of Red Bull, who he feels is leading the chase to the dominant Mercedes team.

"It is going to take a long time I think," Button said. "The closest team to Mercedes is Red Bull. For us it's a big gap which is a shame, a lot bigger than we expected and we have been putting improvements on the car. A lot of work needed for us in the aerodynamic area, and downforce, to catch the Mercedes but it's not going to happen overnight. There's only one team that's quick enough, no-one else is ever happy but you do the best you can. I don't think anyone is [happy with the pace], except from Mercedes, as they are so much quicker than everybody else."

Button enjoyed the evening practice session much more than FP1, though he was given a timely reminder of just how far behind Mercedes his team currently sits.

"FP2 was pretty good in the cooler conditions. The soft tyre is so different to the medium. It's a lot more fun to drive, a lot better to drive. It's a tyre that works around here - it's two-and-a-half seconds quicker. We've still got a lot of work to do to be competitive. We're a long way off the Mercedes, one came by me like I was standing still. We're pushing and hoping for a lot of improvement.

Button crossed the line 40 seconds behind Nico Hulkenberg in Malaysia and he expects Force India to take the fight to Red Bull again in Bahrain.

"There's a few areas where we are still weak. We have to save a lot of fuel which hurts us quite a bit. The Red Bull looks very quick also, and Force India is probably too quick as well. In the race to beat them is going to be tricky but you never know, we'll see how it goes."

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