Button convinced McLaren can hit back in Japan

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The Independent Online

Jenson Button is confident that McLaren's latest car updates will see the team pose an increased threat to Red Bull and Ferrari at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Both Button and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton appeared to lack speed relative to their rivals in Singapore two weeks ago, and the Woking-based team have been working hard to close the gap.

A new front wing was wheeled out in Singapore, where Button came home in fourth place, and further revisions for Sunday's race at Suzuka appear set to enhance the performance of the MP4-25 still further.

"I personally feel that I've improved the car from Singapore," said Button. "We've changed the set-up quite a bit. And also with putting the upgrades on the car as well we have made a step up. We definitely have an upgrade that will make a difference."

Asked whether Red Bull would be the team to beat this weekend, Button replied: "No, I don't think they are. They're very good on this type of circuit, but at Spa we were competitive, where you have to have efficient downforce, the same as here. They won't have it all their own way."

Button is one of five drivers who can still win the title but he needs a favour from Red Bull's Mark Webber, whom he trails by 25 points. "If Mark is consistent, then it's difficult," he said. "But when you feel you're under pressure you can make mistakes. Mark's in a very stressful position. It's a position he's never been in before, so we'll see how he copes."