Button reckons he's got a good chance of continuing to shade his rivals. (LAT photo)
Jenson Button believes Red Bull Racing should have every reason to be worried about its own pace now, with the Hungarian Grand Prix winner confident McLaren is now a match for the championship leaders in both qualifying and races.
On the basis that McLaren has won three of the last five grands prix, Button sees no reason why his team cannot continue its good run of form for the remainder of the season. With Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber now being pushed really hard in qualifying – an area where they were dominant earlier this year – Button thinks that the advantage Red Bull Racing had has been wiped away.
"We are very quick in the race," Button said. "In qualifying it is nice to see we have made some improvements, and nice to see we are up there with the Red Bulls now. They should be worried."
Button thinks that updates planned for the next race in Belgium should allow it to challenge for the win on the high-speed circuit, too.
"Spa is a very different race, and I am hoping that we will have a good package for it. I'm looking forward to running it, and hopefully we can fight for another victory. We should do well."
However, despite his optimism about McLaren's run of form, he concedes that recent non-finishes have badly hurt his championship ambitions.
"We won three of the last five races, which is not bad – it is pretty good. But for me it is pretty tough to fight for the championship because of recent reliability issues. Still, we are not going to give up.
"As a team we have made it very difficult for ourselves over the last three races with failures, but I am a very positive person. I know it is very difficult to fight for the championship. I am taking it one race at a time. I don't look at the numbers. I will just keep my head down and concentrate on doing the best I can at each race."
Button currently lies fifth in the drivers' championship, 100 points adrift of Vettel but only 15 points behind Webber, who is second overall.