Red Bull will no doubt again be the team to beat in Abu Dhabi, but Jenson Button is confident McLaren “can be right up there” come the weekend…
Red Bull will no doubt again be the team to beat in Abu Dhabi, but Jenson Button is confident McLaren “can be right up there” come the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel and his RB8 are in a league of their own at the moment with the defending World Champion winning four consecutive races to move 13 points clear in the Drivers’ standings.
The German will be out to make it five wins on a row this weekend and you wouldn’t bet against him as he has won two of the three races that have been held at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Button, though, believes McLaren has what it takes to get close to the Red Bulls.
“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,” he 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.”
Having won last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton has every reason to be upbeat about his chances.
“It’s a track where you can really push the car, which is what I most enjoy,” he 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 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.”