Jenson Button says he is hopeful that the updates being run by McLaren this weekend in Germany will finally see him return to the kind of form that saw him lead the championship standings early on this season.
The Briton took victory in Australia to start his season in style and then added a podium finish in the third round of the year in China to establish himself as a championship contender – only for his form to drop away dramatically.
The last six races have seen Button score just seven points to slip down to eighth in the championship standings but he said he was hopeful that the upgrades being introduced by McLaren at Hockenheim would bring him back into contention.
"We haven't got slower, it's just that other people have found themselves or made good improvements,” Button was quoted as telling reporters at the circuit on Thursday. “The first few races of the year I didn't feel like teams like Lotus had it sorted and had it together, but now they're looking very strong - the same as a few of the teams. But you'd have to say Ferrari and Red Bull have really stepped forward compared to everyone else and I think that's just big updates. For us we haven't had a big enough update to really be in the mix, but here we should get that update.”
Button added that he currently felt McLaren had dropped behind Ferrari and Mercedes in terms of performance and needed to find more race pace.
"I personally feel that Fernando should have won the last race, but sticking the option tyres on at the end was an unusual strategy - very strange,” he said. “But I personally think that the Ferrari is very quick and since Barcelona, when they had their upgrade, the car's been on the pace and they've made the most of it. So it's those two teams at the front and then you've got the Lotus behind and then a gaggle of cars including the Mercedes, the Sauber, ourselves, the Williams and Force India almost.
"I hope that it [the upgrade] takes up back to the front. If you look at our degradation compared to some of the quicker teams, which also includes Sauber, we are weaker in that area. Some of it is because they have got more downforce than us, they have a slightly better car at the moment, but some of it is set-up and that's something we're working on this weekend - to try and improve our long-run pace. That's a definite weakness because qualifying seems to be a little bit better than race pace, which is a little unusual for this team."