Jenson Button is adamant McLaren can battle both Force India and Williams in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
McLaren have enjoyed a much better season that the one endured in 2015 and the team have amassed 54 points so far this term, double what they achieved in the whole of last year.
Gradual improvements continue to be made to the car and the partnership with engine-supplier Honda, which is now into the second campaign, appears to be working well.
Button, who will take a sabbatical in 2017, managed to qualify in ninth on Saturday for the race at the Sepang International Circuit, splitting the Force India cars, in seventh and eighth, and the Williams' in 10th and 11th.
The former world champion says he is happy with the display over the past two days and there is a good chance McLaren can compete with the rivals around them on Sunday.
"We've got the two Williams behind but we are in a reasonable position. We should be able to race the cars around us, there's no reason why not," Button said. "We improved the car a lot since yesterday, in qualifying it was the first time I really felt comfortable with the car, improving all the way through."
Mercedes were once again dominant in qualifying after defending world champion Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.
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