Sepang: Briton Jenson Button believes his McLaren team have a great opportunity to compete with rivals Red Bull after qualifying in fourth place for Sunday's Malaysia Grand Prix.
The 2009 champion's time was within 0.3 seconds of pole-sitter and reigning champion German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, while his McLaren team-mate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton qualified second, within 0.1 seconds of Vettel's time.
Button, 30, is hoping for a problem-free start to Sunday's race so he can take the fight to Red Bull.
"It looks like it's going to be a fun scrap tomorrow," said Button, "we're a lot closer to the Red Bulls than I think many people expected, and there's a margin over the guys behind us, so hopefully it will be the four of us playing tomorrow.
"Our starts weren't great in Melbourne. I hope they'll be better in this race; we have a very good KERS Hybrid system, so hopefully it will help us and we can really attack into Turn One.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow - the weather has held off for the past two days. And if it's a dry race, we really should be able to take the race to the Red Bulls."
Australian Mark Webber, who qualified third, was pleased to have bounced back after struggling to match the pace of his Red Bull team-mate in Melbourne two weeks ago.
Webber said: "I knew it would be very tight; everyone was on a single pace after the first flying lap on the option tyre in Q3. It was pretty straight forward for us; you have to just drive as quick as you can when it's like that.
"It was a better performance from me today compared to Melbourne and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm starting on the clean side of the grid and it should be an interesting race - I think there will be a lot of pit stops."
Ever-optimistic German Michael Schumacher of Mercedes blamed an issue with his car's rear wing after failing to make the top 10 for the second time in succession, but refused to count himself out of the running.
"We had some issues with the rear wing activation today and unfortunately that's what compromised my last run in Q2," said Schumacher, "which is a real shame, as it had been working very well during the earlier runs.
"The performance was much better with the wing, so of course we had to use it, and I would still say that we have made a step forward thanks to the hard work from our guys.
"We now have to concentrate on tomorrow's race which we go into with the firm belief that anything can be possible."