McLaren's Jenson Button has set his sights on passing Sebastian Vettel off the line tomorrow at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix.
The F1 2009 world champion took fourth in qualifying and while he was a bit disappointed to be almost four tenths off his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, he has been pleasantly surprised so far this weekend by the pace of the MP4-25 relative to the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
“Q3 was very tough,” Button reflected. “I pushed very hard [on my first run], because I was the first car out of the pitlane and we wanted to make sure we were able to fit two runs in; but in the first sector I damaged the rear tyres a little. After that I struggled a bit.
“So, for the second run, I thought I'd take it a bit slower on the out-lap, and drive the first sector a little easier, but I didn't have enough tyre temperature when I got to the first sector – so I struggled [again].
“But the second and third sectors were both very good – I just didn't nail the first sector, and that cost me a few tenths.
“But fourth isn't too bad; we're a lot closer to the Red Bulls than we feared we might be. The Ferrari looks quick, but I'm reasonably happy – much happier than I was after my qualifying here last year [when I was only eleventh].
“For tomorrow, the start will be the key. My aim will be to pass Sebastian [Vettel]. The Red Bulls' pace off the line hasn't been great recently, and I also think we can have a good race because our pace on high fuel has looked good around here,” he summed-up.
"The first corner is going to be pretty mad I think," Button emphasised when speaking to reporters, "The positive is I have Mark behind me, who's leading the championship. The negative is I have Alonso and Lewis in front of me, who are also in front of me in the championship.
"We all want to make up places, especially Mark, leading the championship - I'm sure he'll want to make up a couple of places at the start."
Despite acknowledging the need to try and make up early places, Button is aware that he will have to know when to temper his ambition.
"I think we should be pretty happy where we are," he noted, "Our pace compared to the Red Bulls is a lot better than we thought around this circuit.
"But it's only one race out of five, so you've got to keep your cool and pick up as many points as you can."