• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

McLaren pair believe they can beat Red Bull in Abu Dhabi

ESPN Staff
October 31, 2012 « Ricciardo and Vergne awaiting 2013 confirmation | Sauber confirms Nico Hulkenberg for 2013 »
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have seen Sebastian Vettel win the last four races for Red Bull © Sutton Images
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Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton believe McLaren can erase the gap to Red Bull at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Button set the fastest lap in India en-route to finishing fifth, albeit 26 seconds behind race winner Sebastian Vettel after he was stuck behind Romain Grosjean's Lotus. With the car displaying good pace on the hard tyre in the race, Button believes McLaren can close the gap to Red Bull this weekend.

"I think this will be another closely matched race: India showed us that the gap between the top three teams is extremely close at the moment, so I wouldn't like to predict the exact pecking order," Button said. "As in the last few races, I think Red Bull will go into the weekend with a slight advantage, but I'm confident that, with a clear run through practice, we can be right up there too.

"One of the most satisfying aspects of the Indian Grand Prix was that we could battle cleanly at the front - that was fantastic. While it'll be quite tough to overtake around here - even with DRS - I'm hopeful that we can have another great battle, which would be fantastic for the fans."

Hamilton was closer to the front last weekend, finishing just behind third-placed Mark Webber. Having won in Abu Dhabi last year he too believes that Red Bull can be beaten.

"It's a track where you can really push the car, which is what I most enjoy," Hamilton said. "There are a wide variety of corners - I love the fast sweeps in the first sector - and it's incredibly satisfying to hook together a good sector through the tricky marina section of the lap. Good mechanical balance makes all the difference here because you're always changing direction.

"This has also been a place where Red Bull have traditionally gone well, but our race pace was very strong throughout the race in New Delhi. I really enjoyed that race in India - fourth place may have been little reward for 60 laps of flat-out effort, but I couldn't have gone any faster. I feel confident that we can pull together a strong race weekend in Abu Dhabi."