Manama: Jenson Button was bullish on Thursday about his McLaren team's hopes of recovery following an uninspiring start to the 2013 Formula One season.
The 32-year-old Englishman, world champion in 2009 with the Brawn team (now Mercedes), came fifth after a battling strategic race in last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix after finishing ninth and 17th in the opening Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix.
His poor start has left him down in eighth place in the drivers' championship with 12 points, already trailing leader and defending triple champion Sebastian Vettel by 40, ahead of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Despite his widely-acknowledged ability as a driver, Button faces a struggle to catch up his rivals in a McLaren car that has left much to be desired so far this year.
But, he told reporters, he and the team are working for, and finding, improvements with each race and should be capable of achieving another encouraging result in Sunday's 57-laps contest at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).
"We are improving at every race now and all of the new ideas are suiting the car," he said. "And we finished fifth in the last race, which was a decent result for us - we beat some very quick cars to do that and at least one driver from all the top teams."
He conceded that "P5 is not where we want to be, but we can take a lot from the success last weekend" and added that it had been an achievement by the team, and the drivers, to make a two-stop strategy work in difficult conditions with very high levels of tyre wear.
To achieve success with that strategy, he said, the drivers had to make sure they drove long stints on their tyres.
"It was tricky to make it work," he said. "If we failed to make it work we dropped into a three-stop strategy..."
Looking ahead to Sunday's Bahrain contest, he said the high temperatures were sure to make it a tough day for the cars, their tyres and the drivers. "We just have to see what the degradation levels are going to be," he said.