• Malaysian Grand Prix

Jenson Button eyes title challenge

ESPNF1 Staff
April 11, 2011 « Perez suffers strange retirement | »
Jenson Button was much closer to Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia than he was in Melbourne © Sutton Images

Jenson Button has said that it was "very important" for him to kick-start his championship challenge with second place at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

After a drive-through penalty hampered his race in Australia and saw him finish 6th, Button drove a steady race at Sepang to finish just over three seconds behind Sebastian Vettel. Despite being 24 points behind Vettel in the championship, he said that the way his car handled throughout the race was reason for optimism for the rest of the season.

"It gives me confidence," Button told the BBC. "The feeling of the car is good and that is important to me. We can't let the Red Bulls have it all their own way for much longer. This is again a step forward in terms of performance and it has to keep happening."

"Hopefully we can take the fight to Red Bull because everyone wants to see that. Our aim is to challenge these guys but it's not that easy - they are very, very fast. At this moment in time, Sebastian is the person to beat. He has a 24-point lead and that is a lot from two races but there are still 17 to go. He's won two races out of two and nobody else has been as consistent."

Button was also hopeful that McLaren could further improve its car ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, having initially struggled to get some updates to work during Friday practice in Malaysia.

"In terms of pace we are the second best but we need to find some improvements. They are in the pipeline but it's exciting for us and hopefully in China we can make a real good race of it."