Button was eighth quickest at the end of Friday's two practice sessions around the streets of Monte Carlo, albeit 1.2 seconds off the searing pace posted by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.
While still far from being good enough, Button could at least claim changes made to the car since the last race in Spain had made a small difference.
"It was fun out there," said Button with a smile.
"Our long-run pace looks surprisingly good, not that that matters so much around here when you are 1.2 seconds off the pace of qualifying.
"But I'm happier with the car here, I have a much better feeling with it than I have had at the past few races.
"There are some areas in which we've struggled before that now seem a little better, which is nice.
"Because Monaco is such a different race, with the layout of the circuit and bumpiness of the track, you change the car quite a bit and it seems to be working better.
"We're still not setting amazing times out there, but I'm happy we're heading in the right direction, and we can improve tomorrow [Saturday] from where we are at the moment."
The difficulty is should Button replicate eighth in qualifying, the lack of overtaking opportunities around the streets of the principality mean he is likely to make little headway in the race.
"The problem is around here you have to qualify well, and that is our weakness at the moment," Button added.
"We just can't get the temperature into the tyre for that one lap, so we face a lot of work over the next couple of days to work out how we get the performance because we don't have it yet."
Out in front were Mercedes duo Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with both offering a differing opinion on their views of victory.
With the duo claiming the last three poles between them, with Rosberg the last two in Bahrain and Spain, they start as favourites to make it four in a row.
From the front row they should theoretically be able to control the race, however Rosberg said: "Our long-run pace is still a concern, so winning is going to be difficult because you need that.
"With the different strategies you can do here it's really important to have race pace. It won't be enough to be somewhere at the front in qualifying."
In contrast, Hamilton said: "It looks pretty good. I just have to improve my one-lap pace, but after that I think we're good."
Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso, winner last time out in Spain, and Felipe Massa were third and fourth quickest, followed by Red Bull's Mark Webber, winner of two of the last three races here.
Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel and Force India's Paul Di Resta were ninth and 10th, the Scot 1.287secs down, with British rookie Max Chilton four seconds back in 21st in his Marussia.