Lewis Hamilton was ecstatic with his McLaren's pace in practice in Abu Dhabi, and is expecting his most competitive grand prix for several races.
The Briton needs to win and hope Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel all have issues if he is to come from fourth to snatch the title, but is feeling much more confident about his race chances after topping Friday practice. Hamilton said a breakthrough with McLaren's latest rear wing was key to his improved form.
"I'm really, really happy," he said. "We've been hoping for some time to improve this rear wing of ours – it's not really been working since Suzuka and so we've not really been able to use it. We know it's got better potential and finally it's working, so that's a huge plus for us.
"The car's feeling good today, I was feeling good in the car. I've been a little bit rundown, a little bit ill, but I'm on some meds now."
But despite his optimism, Hamilton warned that Red Bull might still be hard to beat in qualifying at least. Vettel and Webber's team has taken 14 poles in the 18 races so far this year.
"I'm very hopeful. I'm giving 120 percent. I think the car is generally quick," Hamilton said. "Tomorrow is still going to be tough – the Red Bulls are still going to pull out maybe half a second in qualifying, but we are closer than we have been."