Lewis Hamilton does not expect Red Bull Racing to have a clear advantage in this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, even though the team was dominant on the previous high-downforce tracks.
Although Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are favorites for victory at the Marina Bay circuit, Hamilton believes that McLaren will be in much better shape than it was in Monaco and Hungary. Furthermore, he believes the FIA clampdown on flexible bodywork parts will have slowed the Red Bull Racing cars down, too.
When asked if he feared McLaren could get blown away by Red Bull Racing again, Hamilton said: "I am not expecting it. I think our car has improved to the point that hopefully we are more level with them.
"It is known when they put more downforce on they have gone quicker. In places like Hungary they had a lot of downforce but they were gaining a lot from two particular parts – the front wing and the floor, the front bib. And that had to be changed. So they would have lost their advantage from that. We didn't have that advantage because we were playing to the rules and hopefully now it is closer."
Although McLaren has brought only a few minor updates to its car for this weekend's Singapore race, Hamilton believes his team has made big progress in getting an understanding of what it needs to do to make its chassis quicker.
"I feel that if we go back to Hungary, and came from there to here, then we would have been destroyed," said Hamilton. "Since then we have made a lot of improvements to the car and our understanding of what was wrong, and what we could make right.
"We have learned a lot over the last month or so. I feel really good about our package this weekend but it is what it is when we get out there and find out. If it just so happens that the other guys are quicker, then there is nothing we can do about it, it is just that they have more downforce – but we will be using everything we've got."
Hamilton also played down any talk that this weekend's form guide would set the tone for the remainder of the campaign, as he believed developments scheduled for his own car meant McLaren had plenty of room for improvement.
"I am hoping we are going to keep improving, but I have to assume that everyone else is going to be doing the same," he said. "The car we have this weekend is not the car we are going to have the next weekend, or the car we are going to have the weekend after that.
"It is going to keep going, because we want to win the championship as every team does, so they will keep developing and developing as late as they can."