Lewis Hamilton expects rival team Red Bull to dominate Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying almost a second slower than pace-setter Mark Webber.
The 26-year-old 2008 world champion McLaren driver qualified in third position at the Circuit de Catalunya behind the two Red Bull cars.
Hamilton sees no way of catching the high-flying Red Bulls during Sunday's race but hopes that there will not be such a difference in pace during the race.
When asked if he there was any chance of catching the Red Bulls, Hamilton joked, "The old circuit is still there at the last two corners, I could use the (old, faster) last two corners to match their pace if I don't take the chicane... otherwise, no!"
"They have one second in qualifying, probably a second and a bit. But we will push as hard as we can, and push to save tyres in the run."
"We've been closer in previous races. I think we will be closer than one second (in race pace), but whether it is within a tenth or so we will see."
The 2008 champion insisted that he was not overly frustrated by the situation, but hopes for a significant improvement in performance from his team as soon as possible.
"F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, nothing comes easy," he said. "They have just done a better job. We are second quickest, we can't complain too much."
"I hope at some stage we have a significant improvement with the car so we have a proper race with these guys."
His McLaren teammate and fellow Englishman Button, 31, was just 0.03 seconds slower but wound up in fifth position after being pipped to fourth in the final seconds of qualifying by Spaniard Fernando of Ferrari.
However, Alonso was forced to use an extra set of the limited softer-compound tyres, a fact which Button hopes he can use to his advantage during the race.
"I was disappointed not to be third on the grid and then Fernando got in between us as well," said Button, "but I suppose the good thing about it is I'm on the clean side of the grid."
"Having your tyres in good condition makes such a difference. The tyres are a big part of the race, I think we're in pretty good shape. Fernando's used all three of his softs, which is nice."