Jenson Button confident of pace to match Sebastian Vettel

McLaren's Jenson Button is convinced he has the pace to thwart Sebastian Vettel's bid to become the first ever two-time winner of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Vettel has made a flying start to the new Formula One campaign, winning two out of two to extend his winning sequence for four grands prix dating back to last season.



This weekend the young German is gunning for the dual honour of registering five wins on the spin while also becoming the only man to win twice in Shanghai since the race's inception in 2004.



But Button - also part of that merry band of Shanghai winners alongside Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen - believes he can tear up the form book and deny Vettel his little moment of history come Sunday.



"If we get a nice clean race start, we could have a fun race and I think the pace [between McLaren and Red Bull] will be reasonably similar," Button said.



"I finished three seconds behind him [in Malaysia] but he definitely slowed down at the end of the race, but I don't think he did on every lap. Our pace was quite similar."



Button's strong second place in Sepang came on the heels of team-mate Hamilton's identical result in Australia, and McLaren are confident that Red Bull are there for the taking.



Although Red Bull have suffered issues with their KERS power-boost at the opening rounds, Button maintains it is his team that has the most to gain from ironing out their early-season glitches.



"I think that we probably can make more headway than Red Bull, because of not really completely knowing our car and not having the perfect set-up over the past couple of races," he continued.



"Also we have some updates here; I don't know if Red Bull has."



Friday practice is shaping up to be a frantic day for McLaren, with revisions to their car's floor and exhaust system - first trialled with limited success in Malaysia - set to again be evaluated.



But Button claims there are plenty of other avenues to explore as they bid for the increase in performance that will end Vettel's supremacy.



"It's not just about the updates, it's about fine-tuning what we have already," Button added. "It's going to be a busy day."



Button's team-mate Hamilton is determined to use last weekend's Malaysia disappointment as a spur to better things this weekend.



Hamilton qualified second at Sepang but lost the place to Renault's Nick Heidfeld at the start before dropping back with badly degrading tyres.



A tangle with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso did little to help his cause, while a post-race 20-second penalty for apparently weaving to defend his position from the Spaniard also contributed to his eventual eighth place.



"I want to bounce back from that because we really had the opportunity to finish second quite easily," he said.



"To end up eighth after starting second on the grid is not the kind of performance that we want to have in the future.



"But it's in the past, it's the very early stages of the championship.



"I actually look at it as a blessing because there are many races where you start in nice positions and you don't get any points at all.



"I've still got a couple of points and who knows whether they will be quite valuable points in the future."



Meanwhile, Vettel, who leads the way in the drivers' standings by 24 points from Button, has confirmed Red Bull will run with KERS this weekend despite the problems the team encountered with the device in Malaysia and Australia.



"KERS is an advantage this year and it will help you if you are looking for lap performance," he explained.



"It makes sense to run KERS and we were not proud not to have it in Australia. But we were, for the majority of the weekend, able to run it in Malaysia, and within that short amount of time we made a big step.



"We've only had a couple of days [between Malaysia and China], but I've been pushing very hard and I'm confident we will have it in the car and I'm confident we will have it all weekend.



"We will be using it tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday - I hope!"



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss