Button wary of Merc and Red Bull threats

Date published: April 19 2012

Now that Mercedes have finally broken their victory drought, the team have gone from “qualifying specialists” to “the ones to watch out for”…

Now that Mercedes have finally broken their victory drought, the team have gone from “qualifying specialists” to “the ones to watch out for on a Sunday”.

After failing to back up their excellent qualifying performances in the first two races of the season, the team hit back with a bang in China last weekend with Nico Rosberg starting on pole and going on to win his maiden grand prix.

Naturally, everyone believes Mercedes will once again be one of the challengers for a race win in Bahrain this weekend.

Jenson Button, who won the title with the Brackley-based squad during his seventh and final season in 2009, is ready to take on the Mercedes drivers.

“They’ll be quick,” he told Press Association Sport.

“In qualifying pace they are phenomenal, and they have been all year.

“The first time Nico got it together in qualifying was in China, so they are going to definitely be competitive, and it’s great to see that they are.

“I spent a lot of years with that team – most of my career was with that team – so I am very happy for them they’ve achieved a grand prix victory this year.

“There’s a great bunch of people there, and people that went back to the team as well that I used to work with, like Geoff Willis, so that does obviously pose a threat to us in the Championship.

“As I say, I’m happy for them, but that’s done now and we’re fighting.”

While everything is coming together for Mercedes, things are not going so well at defending Champions Red Bull. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel qualified sixth and 11th respectively while the Australia crossed the finish line in fourth place – one spot ahead of his team-mate.

Button, though, warns you cannot write of the Milton Keynes squad.

“Mercedes will be tough competitors, but they won’t be the only ones,” added the Briton.

“They have shown their pace in quali, also in the race and the strength of their team.

“They didn’t really do much in qualifying in China, and probably they didn’t have their best day in the race.

“But they still finished fourth and fifth, so are picking up big points when their car isn’t as competitive as they would like.

“So I would say those two teams at the moment are the biggest threat because they consistently show their pace.

“Whether they get the result or not is a different story.”