Jenson Button says beating team-mate Fernando Alonso was "the only positive" from a difficult qualifying session for McLaren at Spa-Francorchamps.
McLaren's drivers have a combined grid penalty of 105 places having taken a number of new power unit components this weekend after Honda introduced an upgrade. In qualifying, both cars dropped out in Q1 but Button was half a second faster than Alonso in 17th and 18th positions respectively.
When it was put to him that beating Alonso was a positive result, Button replied: “That is probably the only positive.
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"I actually enjoyed driving it today, I mean all weekend it’s been a bit tricky – rear of the car on entries. But qualifying was much better. It’s funny because you cross the line and think that maybe that lap was good enough to be a lot further up – that lap here was equal to the lap I did to get pole position here three years ago.
"You know you’ve got to deal with that. It’s the same thing for both of us and the whole team – a long way to go before we’re competitive, but at least the feeling was good in qualifying and it was actually enjoyable to drive.”
With Felipe Nasr a second ahead of Button in 16th place in qualifying, the 2009 world champion admits it shows how far off the pace McLaren will be in the race.
“It’s massive. It hurts a lot, you know we’re a long way into the season. You always know a circuit like this is going to be tough and you know Monza is going to be tougher.
"After the summer break you come back excited and you think it’s going to be better than it is, but we have a lot of work to do and obviously we start on the back row tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy to make up any ground and the only two people I think we can overtake are the Manors and the rest will be gone.”
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