Jenson Button reckons McLaren has little chance of denying Sebastian Vettel Indian Grand Prix victory unless it can get among the Red Bulls at the start.
With Red Bull having swept the front row again, and track position having proven so crucial in ensuring victories, Button is under no illusions that polesitter Vettel cannot be left to get away.
"It will be an important start to the race," said Button. "Turn 1 and the first lap will be important to the race result. You cannot win everything in Turn 1 so we have to be careful. We are normally good at judging how much to push and I am sure there will be some good fighting."
Button thinks that tire strategy will be fascinating in the race, with most teams likely to push for a one-stop race.
"It is interesting as the tires are hanging on in there for a long period of time," he said. "I think most people came here thinking it would be a two-stop but most are going for a one-stop."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh agrees that stopping Vettel breaking clear early on is essential.
"For the fans we have to make sure we put on a good fight," he said. "We have two passionate drivers who will give us a shot. This season has been quite an interesting season, it has had ebbs and flows. We have had periods where we were quite strong, and at the moment Red Bull are strong.
"We have to work hard, and push harder. We have to do good starts and, if we do that, we are in with the chance of a good fight. If someone gets in the lead they can manage tires better – and it is easier, and that is the challenge."