Button wary of Massa and Vettel at Monza
Jenson Button is expecting McLaren to face stiff competition at the Italian Grand Prix, especially from Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel.
McLaren locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position and Button lining up second. Ferrari was expected to vie for the top spot but a rear anti-roll bar issue prevented Fernando Alonso registering a competitive time in Q3.
Button will start just ahead of the Ferrari of Massa, but he suspects Vettel in fifth will also put up a strong fight.
"I don't think it will just be us two, I think there will be other people challenging for the win," Button said. "It's very difficult to know people's pace from the long run on Friday, you don't really know what fuel they were running. Felipe has put himself in a very good position, so we will see what his race pace is like tomorrow, but also you've got to look at Sebastian.
"He qualified tenth in Spa, had a bad start, but still only finished 14 seconds behind me. Their pace was very good in the race, they're not strong in qualifying, which is unusual compared to recent years, but their race pace has been quite impressive this year so I think they are going to be fighting us also for a good result this weekend."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he had total faith his drivers would avoid trouble at the first corner as they both challenge for the lead.
"We've got two great racing drivers and they both want to win," Whitmarsh said. "I trust them and I know they trust each other. They're racing drivers, I'm just a bloke who works for McLaren so they're going to have some excitement, I'm sure. They'll find it exciting, I'll find it a bit exciting as well I should imagine, but that's how motor racing should be."
Meanwhile, McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe is hoping McLaren will be able to pick and choose its strategy depending on what happens to the cars behind.
"I think it will be a matter of seeing whether you can make a one- or two-stop work," he said. "They both have their attractions and the good thing from where we are is that from the front row, if we can keep those positions in the race itself, then we have the option of controlling that choice because we can see what other people do first and that gives us the freedom to cover those risks. On paper a one stop is feasible, but whether it works out with all the variables that come along in the race itself, we will have to see."