Jenson Button is convinced McLaren is in good shape for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Briton, second and third fastest in Friday's two respective practice sessions, insists he is happy with his car's feel and balance, particularly on high fuel loads. He also played down a six-tenth deficit to Sebastian Vettel in the second session, saying that he been focussing on long runs and that McLaren also knows exactly where it needs to improve.
"Nothing is leaving us scratching our head," Button explained. "The car is working well, the long run was promising and the feeling is good.
"For some reason some guys are doing seven or eight laps [on the softer compound], which you can't do in qualifying. I only did three – for us, to try and get the tires working in those three laps is key, that's what we are working on.
"I also wanted to get on to my long run as that's something I missed in India, and the car is in a better place than it was [at Buddh], which is good. On low fuel I think there are areas to work on, areas where we need to improve, but we know what we need to do, so it's not too bad."
While qualifying has been key to Vettel's run of four straight victories, Button says having the faster car over a race distance remains more important than prioritizing one-lap pace.
"You still need a quick racecar," he said. "Our qualifying pace as a team has been very good most of the year. In the last few races the Red Bulls have been a lot quicker which has helped them but their race pace has always been very strong. For us, our race pace is always important, and if we can be quicker than Red Bulls race pace that's probably more important than qualifying in front of them."