NEW DELHI, Oct 27, 2012 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton remained confident on Saturday that McLaren can beat Red Bull in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix despite the champions' third straight clean sweep of the front row grid positions.
Hamilton qualified third ahead of his McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button.
He said: "We are not quick enough to be ahead of these guys (on the grid) but we can definitely challenge them in the race.
"Our race pace in practice was as good as theirs so I am excited about that."
The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa start behind the McLarens on row three and Hamilton said he expected them to be a threat in race trim.
He added: "Ferrari had a slightly faster pace overall, but we don't know what fuel they were on.
"If we can get a good start and have a good fight with these guys then hopefully (we will have) a better race than the last few ones we did.
"I am looking forward to a race where we don't have any issues and can just fight to get some good points."
Team-mate Button said overnight work on his car had helped him. He said: "The car was pretty difficult yesterday, but we improved it a lot overnight.
"Coming here it was very difficult to get the tyres into their operating window, but we have finally found a place which works for us, so we're pretty happy.
"We got it together today, and hopefully the improvements we made will work on high fuel as well as they have on low fuel.
"We still need improvements in the race to really challenge the Red Bulls, but we can do a lot from (the second row).
"We should be happy with what we have done today as a team - we're not far off the Red Bulls and in front of the Ferraris."