Jenson Button says Red Bull Racing should not to underestimate McLaren's potential for the Japanese Grand Prix, even though the circuit will play to the strengths of the reigning champion's cars.
F1 is heading to Suzuka fully expecting Sebastian Vettel to secure the single point he needs to clinch the World Championship. But, although that means Button's title hopes will be officially over, the Briton still thinks he and his team can put on a fight in Suzuka.
"In the last few races, I think we've shown that we have extremely good pace and that we've been the team most able to take the fight to Red Bull," said Button. "On paper, I think it's a circuit that will suit the Red Bulls, particularly in the high-speed sweeps that make up the first sector of the track, but I certainly don't think people should under-estimate our package.
"We showed at Spa that we have a car that's very effective in high-speed corners. We've also improved our straight-line speed and we have a more efficient rear wing for qualifying, so I think we're feeling positive about the weekend."
Teammate Lewis Hamilton, who is keen to bounce back from recent disappointment, hopes that his aggressive style that has caused him trouble this year could actually be a benefit this time out.
"I think Suzuka will play to my strengths: it's a track that really requires you to drive in an attacking way to be able to get a good lap time," he said. "It's an uncompromising place. But that's when the thrill of driving a Formula 1 car is at its highest; when you know you can't afford a single mistake and where driving on the absolute limit is the only way to get the best time. In that sense, it's a lot like Monaco, and maybe that's why I like the place so much – it's unique.
"I think we're headed there in pretty good shape. We know that the Red Bulls will be strong, but we also have a very quick car, and we can make it work on different kinds of circuit."