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Button pushing forward

Updated: 2012-03-24 07:49
( China Daily)

McLaren's Jenson Button is quietly confident of backing up last week's season-opening victory despite expecting a tougher challenge from his Formula One rivals in Malaysia on Sunday.

The 2009 world champion overtook teammate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton on the dash to the first turn in Melbourne and cruised to victory ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who benefited from a late safety car to pass the other McLaren.

"We have a good feeling at the moment, there's a lot of confidence in the team but we also know there are a lot of other quick cars," Button said on Thursday.

"Red Bull were strong in the race and some of the others didn't put it together over the weekend, so I expect it to be more competitive than Melbourne.

"We have a really good car so a one-two is not out of the question if everything goes well."

Button pushing forward

McLaren locked out the front row of the grid in Australia and has been tipped to repeat the feat in Malaysia, a prediction Button was quick to play down as he weighed up the nuances of the demanding Sepang circuit.

"It's such a different circuit to Melbourne but that's the same for everyone," he said.

"Our car worked well in Melbourne and we came away with the victory but here it's a bit tricky. A lot of tire degradation, it's very hot and humid, and very fast and flowing. So everything points to being able to look after the tires really."

Hamilton cast a disappointed figure on the third step of the podium last week after qualifying on pole but the 2008 world champion was looking forward to the chance of a fresh victory rather than regretting an opportunity missed.

"Clearly, we're very encouraged by our pace, both in qualifying and in the race, and I'd like to think we can continue that at Malaysia this weekend," Hamilton said. "I think both Mercedes and Red Bull have performance up their sleeves, and they'll both be very fast in qualifying and the race.

"But it's nice to be the hunted rather than the hunter, which has been the case in the past few seasons."

Reuters in Sepang, Malaysia

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