Abu dhabi, Nov 12, 2011 (AFP) - Jenson Button expects it will be tough to challenge for victory during Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite qualifying in third position.
The 2009 champion will start Sunday's race behind his McLaren team-mate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton, and recently crowned double-champion Sebastian Vettel, who took his 14th pole of the year for Red Bull on Saturday.
Despite the McLaren pair dominating most of free practice, Button, 31, said he was not surprised to see Vettel on pole again.
"We have seen it before, we're very quick in practice, we are working through our programme," said Button.
"It is not about being quickest during the day, it is just the way it happens. We run a different programme, we've seen it before and we expect RBR to be quick."
"We feel we are more competitive and can challenge them in the race more than qualifying."
Button also suggested that despite the introduction of two DRS zones, it will be difficult to overtake, and believes his best chance of a pass may come through the form of a pit-stop.
He said: "I think it is going to be tough to overtake with DRS, hopefully we will have a different story tomorrow in the race, we will have to see, but [the DRS zone] does feel short here.
"Yesterday I was using the DRS doing Turn 7 to Turn 8 and still could not overtake anybody.
"Hopefully there will be possibilities. It is a long, long race, with a couple of pitstops that are important to get right."
Oddly, Hamilton produced a better lap time in Q2 than he did in Q3. Nonetheless, the 2008 champion said he was happy with the progress the team have made over the weekend.
"It was a good session for me," he said, "We've had quite a good couple of days and made quite a big improvement, from the last race at least.
"I felt it was as fast as I could go. It wasn't really a great lap, the one in Q2 was much better, but that's the way it is."