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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 16:52 UK

We can race Red Bull, say McLaren

Jenson Button

Highlights - Turkish GP practice two

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Istanbul Park

McLaren believe they can match Red Bull for pace in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix but will struggle to out-qualify them.

McLaren's Jenson Button narrowly beat Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in Friday practice at Istanbul Park.

And McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "Our race pace is good - some analysis would suggest we are a bit quicker in race pace.

"But they've killed us in qualifying so far and if you can't qualify it makes it a bit more difficult."

The Red Bulls have been in dominant form on Saturdays so far this year, taking pole position for all six races.

Martin Whitmarsh
Our long runs look good - and there are signs that we are just about there

Martin Whitmarsh (above)
McLaren team boss

But Whitmarsh said McLaren's analysis of the two cars' performance in Friday practice suggested that Button and team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was fourth fastest in second practice after setting the pace in the morning session, could challenge them in the race.

"We're a little bit closer to Red Bull but they are still clearly the car that we've got to beat. Our long runs look good - and there are signs that we are just about there.

"They are able to turn it on in qualifying. Who knows what fuel load they're running (on shorter runs)? Maybe they're running a lot more than us.


"In the long runs they weren't running more than us - I know that - so we were competitive there.

"But the right thing to assume is that until proven otherwise they're quite a lot quicker in qualifying. If that's not the case on Saturday, I'll be pleasantly surprised."

Hamilton added: "I have no doubts that tomorrow in qualifying Red Bull will pull out something extra they always do. I think Red Bull will be quick tomorrow and the Ferraris but I do feel we'll be able to compete with them."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

Highlights - Turkish GP practice one

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see also
Button edges Webber in practice
28 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP practice as it happened
28 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish Grand Prix photos
28 May 10 |  Formula 1

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