Jenson Button says McLaren is weak when it comes to fuel saving and is suffering ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

McLaren was one of six teams within 0.6s of one another during FP2, with Mercedes clear of the rest of the field. When analysing how Friday practice had gone for him, Button said the car was more predictable than it had been last weekend in Malaysia but had some clear weaknesses when it came to its fuel consumption.

"It's not too bad," Button said. "It's better than Malaysia in terms of consistency; I'm sure everyone feels the same. It's still a big gap to the top team - Mercedes - I think everyone has that, it's a big advantage there. We're OK but there are a few areas where we are still weak. We've got to save a lot of fuel so that hurts us quite a bit."

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And Button feels it will be tough for McLaren to fight for the podium as he sees two teams other than Mercedes with quicker cars.

"The Red Bull looks very quick and the Force India looks probably too quick as well at the moment. So in the race to beat them is going to be tricky but you never know, we'll see how it goes."

Button also admitted McLaren is further off the pace than it expected to be relative to Mercedes at the start of the season.

"It's going to take a long time I think. The closest team to Mercedes is Red Bull. For us it's a big gap, which is a shame. It's bigger than what we expected and we have been putting improvements on the car so there is a lot of work needed really for us in the aerodynamic area - downforce - to catch the Mercedes and it's not going to happen overnight."