• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Button wary of Mercedes start threat

ESPNF1 Staff
March 24, 2012 « Ecclestone reveals Concorde Agreement | Hamilton confident of improved race pace »
Jenson Button was just 0.149s slower than Lewis Hamilton © Sutton Images

Jenson Button admits he is wary of the threat from Michael Schumacher's Mercedes at the start of tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.

While Lewis Hamilton secured pole position at Sepang and Button ensured a second consecutive front row lockout, Schumacher will start third after the Mercedes made use of its DRS 'F-duct'. With the second longest run of the season down to turn one Button was asked about the potential of a repeat of his start in Australia when he took the lead, but he pointed out the threat of Mercedes.

"I think it'll be an exciting start," Button said. "Not just us two on the front row; the Mercedes is renowned - especially Michael - for getting good starts so it's going to be a fun turn one I think."

When asked if Red Bull would be more competitive during the race than in qualifying Button admitted he expected it to be but said there was a number of team that could threaten.

"I think they will be. I don't think they'll be the only ones. The Mercedes are a little bit tougher on their tyres it seems but they're very good at starts so that could be interesting in to turn one. And the Lotus is also quick I think - Kimi proved that at the last race - so I wouldn't just say it's the Red Bull's that are going to be fighting with us for the good results. On Friday we did some long runs and it's tough round here on the tyres but I think we had reasonably good consistency."

Despite his second place, Button was still disappointed not to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position.

"Qualifying's been pretty good to me at the last two races so I can't complain too much. I think it's good for us as a team to be on the front row again, it's always nice when your engineer keys up and you can hear all of the mechanics in the background cheering because of a one-two. You obviously want it the other way round though, but Lewis did a great lap at the start of Q3 and we edged closer but couldn't quite get there."