Jenson Button hopes Red Bull's commanding Japanese Grand Prix performance will be a one-off – but fears it might not be.
Sebastian Vettel led by as much as 20 seconds at Suzuka as he stormed to his third victory at the venue in four Formula 1 starts. Button was able to convert his eighth place on the grid to a fourth-place finish, one spot ahead of his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton. But Button could not get past Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber for third, and lost out to Felipe Massa's Ferrari at the first pit stops.
"Red Bull was very strong and we weren't on their pace today," Button admitted. "We were very similar to the Saubers and the Ferraris. The Ferrari was probably a little bit quicker. We'll see what happens when we get to Korea."
Asked if he had expected Red Bull to be so dominant, Button replied: "I think they're a little bit quicker than what we thought, but they're always quick here.
"Last year, you'd say they weren't as quick as normal, and that's the reason we could fight for the win. But this is, for some reason, always a very good Red Bull circuit. We've got to hope that this is a stand-out race for them but I'd be surprised.
"They're going very well and they're doing a good job. Getting both cars on the front row proved that."
Button spent the second half of the race striving to get past home hero Kobayashi for third but could not make it through.
"I think he actually controlled that set of tires pretty well," said Button of Kobayashi. "The second set, he didn't, and he destroyed them after just a few laps, so that's why I was able to get close.
"I got close a few times but the problem was the only way I could get DRS was to brake so late for the chicane and every time I tried I locked up and ran wide."