Russian GP: Jenson Button says McLaren a podium threat

Jenson Button reckons the McLaren Formula 1 team can fight for a podium behind Mercedes in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix, after setting an impressive pace in free practice

Russian GP: Jenson Button says McLaren a podium threat

Kevin Magnussen bagged the second-fastest time of the day as F1 made its first appearance at the Sochi Autodrom, behind only championship leader Lewis Hamilton, while Button rounded out the top six in FP2, two tenths adrift of his team-mate.

The 2009 world champion said some improvements to the MP4-29 made in the last race in Japan had carried over to Russia.

"I think we have improved the set-up in Suzuka and we carried it over a little bit here," Button explained.

"It [Sochi] does seem to suit us better, but this circuit will also change tomorrow and we have to be very careful with that.

"We were very quick from the word go on the prime [medium] tyre. On the option [soft] tyre and with low fuel I didn't really have the balance, so hopefully we can improve that tomorrow.

"We are obviously behind the Mercedes, but we have a chance to fight everyone else this weekend."

Magnussen agreed McLaren's practice pace was encouraging, but urged caution given lack of knowledge on rival's fuel levels and engine settings.

"I think it's a little bit early to congratulate," Magnussen said.

"It's good that we had a good practice, and the car seems to be working pretty well, but it's hard to know if it's the true picture - it's just practice.

"Fuel levels can be very different, and also with the power unit you can do a lot of things, and it's probably not the true picture.

"But it feels good and I think we have a chance to have a good result. It's better to be P2 than it is to be P10 like we have been before."

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Russian GP: F1 drivers praise Sochi circuit after practice
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