Jenson Button says McLaren's potential at the Russian Grand Prix is "exciting" and believes it can be in the mix for a podium this weekend.

Kevin Magnussen was second fastest in the FP2 after Button himself had been P2 in the opening session. With McLaren also looking very competitive on the long runs, Button said the track seemed to suit the MP4-29 and he feels only Mercedes is ahead of McLaren heading in to Saturday's running.

"From the word go we had reasonable pace on low fuel, on high fuel, it's definitely better than normal," Button said. "There's still some work to do. The prime tyre is very good - for me anyway - and on the option tyre I struggled to get it working. The set-up didn't really suit that tyre, so there's a bit of work to do but the long runs seemed to be alright, it's not Mercedes pace but interesting with everyone else out there I think for us. It's a circuit that seems to work for us at the moment.

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"We're obviously behind the Mercedes but everyone else I think we have a chance of fighting with this weekend."

And Button explained that the problems on the softer option tyre were a result of his set-up, which leads him to believe further progress will be made ahead of qualifying.

"I've set the car up very round the prime so when I put the option on it wasn't working. So we can find the pace which is exciting. We're a lot more in the mix than previous races. Swapping times with the Mercedes on primes was quite interesting, not so on option! A lot of it is the long run work we're doing now and I think there will be fuel saving for everyone, so that's something that is going to be tricky also."

However, Button warned the track evolution could catch some teams out and wants McLaren to be focused on maintaining its strong form.

"We have improved the set-up in Suzuka and carried it over a little bit here. It does seem to suit us better than normal, but this circuit will also change [on Saturday] and we have to be very careful of it."