Belgian F1 GP: McLaren's Button and Alonso resigned to lonely race

Jenson Button fears he and McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team-mate Fernando Alonso face a lonely battle with each other in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa

Belgian F1 GP: McLaren's Button and Alonso resigned to lonely race

Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai had suggested his company's upgraded engine would come close to matching Ferrari's power output.

Yet Button and Alonso qualified 17th and 18th at Spa-Francorchamps, with the former finishing a second adrift of Felipe Nasr's Ferrari-powered Sauber just ahead.

ANALYSIS: Why Honda's new engine is a letdown

With grid penalties to come for a double engine change, amassing a record-breaking but meaningless 105 places combined (Button 50, Alonso 55), the duo will start from the back row of the grid.

"Beating Fernando is probably the only positive," said Button.

"I felt I got everything out of the car, that it was as good as my qualifying lap in 2012 when I put it on pole, except I'm 17th and a few seconds off the pace.

"I actually enjoyed driving the car, and when you cross the finishing line and you see the time you think 'That's not bad'.

"But then when you see where you are, a second off the guy in front of you, it's a massive margin, it hurts.

"That's puzzling and disappointing, and shows there is a lot of work needed to close that gap, and a long way to go before we feel happy with the package we have.

"There's definitely more power with the engine at least, but you always want more than you see, and we're still a long way off."

As for the race, Button is not expecting to see too much action.

"It's not going to be easy to make up any ground," he said.

"The only people we are going to be able to overtake are the Manors, and the rest will be gone.

"It will be Fernando and myself battling it out, and I don't think we'll be seeing another car until they lap us.

"The challenging part will be driving around for 44 laps on our own. Hopefully we'll be able to keep each other company and make it a bit more fun."

Alonso is only concerned about trying to put mileage on the new power unit and hoping the team can learn from it.

"I need many things to happen tomorrow," said Alonso when asked if was considering a points finish.

"I talk before about rain, but probably we need more than the rain. We need a very chaotic race, let's say.

"But I think the target tomorrow cannot be the points to be honest. We have to be realistic, we are not competitive at all.

"The target tomorrow is to learn about the car and keep putting mileage."

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