Lewis Hamilton remains bullish about McLaren's chances of beating Red Bull to Indian Grand Prix victory despite the champion team's third consecutive front-row sweep.
Hamilton got within 0.261 second of polesitter Sebastian Vettel in Buddh qualifying. Although Vettel has topped every session so far this weekend, Hamilton had been adamant on Friday that qualifying would not be McLaren's strong point and that it was in the race where he would be at his best.
"We are not quick enough to be ahead of these guys [on the grid] but we can definitely challenge them in the race," Hamilton said. "Our race pace in practice was as good as theirs, so I am excited about that."
The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa start behind the two McLarens on row three, and Hamilton suspects they will also be moving forward in race trim.
"Ferrari had a slightly faster pace overall, but we don't know what fuel they were on," he said. "If we can get a good start and have a good fight with these guys then hopefully [we will have] a better race than the last few ones we did."
Hamilton added that after three grands prix compromised by mechanical problems – starting with a gearbox failure while leading in Singapore and then suspension gremlins in both Japan and Korea – he was also hoping to have a straightforward Sunday.
"I am looking forward to a race where we don't have any issues and can just fight to get some good points," he said.