• Indian Grand Prix - FP2

Button expects to challenge for victory

ESPNF1 Staff
October 28, 2011 « Win is possible with top four grid slot - Alonso | Williams promotes Coughlan to technical director »
Jenson Button is confident McLaren will be competitive on Sunday © Getty Images

Jenson Button says that McLaren should be in the hunt for victory following Friday practice for the Indian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the morning session and Felipe Massa was quickest in the afternoon with Button fourth and sixth respectively. However, after his first running on the new Buddh International Circuit, Button said that he was surprised by how fast and grippy the track is, and that the car is effective due to the downforce levels it can produce.

"I really like this circuit," Button said. "It's great fun to drive. There are some tough corners, like Turns Three and Five, but there's also a lot of high-speed stuff and it feels a lot faster than we initially thought it would. What's also been quite a surprise is the amount of grip out there, particularly in the faster corners where the downforce is really working for you. And, because the high-speed corners are pretty smooth, you can really carry a lot of speed through them.

Button also said that the only issue seemed to be getting the tyres up to temperature.

"It's difficult to get the tyres up to their optimal working temperature range, but, once they're in the operating window, the high-speed grip is phenomenal. From Turn Five onwards, the track is actually very quick. We'll have a lot of fun this weekend and we're hopefully going to be fighting for the win on Sunday."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh agreed that McLaren's race pace was looking promising.

"I think we've got a little more work to do in order to unlock our latent first-lap performance, but Jenson in particular completed an extremely encouraging long run ... Now, we'll analyse our findings from today, and tomorrow we intend to convert that analysis in to a strong qualifying performance."