Date: 11th April 2011 at 9:45am
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Jenson Button’s second place finish has given the 2009 Formula One World champion the confidence to believe that his McLaren team can fight Red Bull for the title this season.

Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull has been the class of the field during the opening two races in Australia and Malaysia, with the reigning F1 champion winning both races in a controlling fashion.

But McLaren’s steps forward in performance since winter testing has really moved the team ahead, Lewis Hamilton taking second in Melbourne and Jenson Button taking second in Sepang.

‘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.’ Button told the BBC.

So far both teams have suffered with problems in the opening two races, Button suffered a drive thru penalty for overtaking Massa by cutting a corner in Australia and Hamilton suffered a post-race 20 second penalty for an incident with Massa’s Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull’s issues have all fallen on Mark Webber, a performance issue with the car prevented the Australian from showing his real race pace in his home Grand Prix, while his KERS device failed on the warm up lap in Malaysia.

Vettel also had an issue with KERS, but while it was only for part of the race and didn’t affect his race, it does show that the team are far from unbeatable and McLaren will look to take advantage of that going into China this weekend.

‘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. 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.’


If McLaren can make another step forward and Red Bull continue to struggle with KERS, then it could prove to be an interesting race in Shanghai.

 

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