London, Mar. 9 : British Formula One driver Jenson Button believes that McLaren will not be able to challenge rivals Red Bull and Ferrari at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 27.
Button said: "I''d be surprised if we can match Red Bull and Ferrari when we get to Melbourne. It''s a big ask. To be on their pace is going to be tricky."
Button was 0.366 seconds behind Mark Webber''s top time of one minute 22.544 seconds for Red Bull at testing.
McLaren had conceded that they were lagging behind their chief rivals, before the final pre-season test began at the Circuit de Catalunya track.
Button''s running was limited because of exhaust problems and he had to wait until after lunch to close down Webber''s leading time on a single-lap run.
The BBC quoted him as saying: “It hasn''t been the best start to the year in terms of mileage, reliability and pace but we have made some progress.”
He said: “The laps I spent on the circuit on lower and higher fuel were quite a good improvement on what I experienced here at the last test.”
Button believes that there is still more work required to be as quick as Red Bull and other rival teams. (ANI)