Jenson Button says he can get some gratification from engaging in an internal battle with Fernando Alonso at a time when McLaren is struggling to break into the mid-field.

As predicted, Button and Alonso endured a trouble qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at the high-speed Monza circuit with both dropping out of Q1 for the second race in succession, the Briton getting the better of his two-time title winning team-mate in 16th and 17th initially.

Even so, despite the drivers landing yet more grid penalties for this race, even greater drops for the rival Red Bull and Toro Rosso cars mean that ironically Button and Alonso both actually still ascend the grid in 15th and 16th (provisionally).

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Despite this, Button is keeping his expectations for the race modest, even if he says he can still gain pleasure from his tight battle with Alonso.

"Internal battles are always fun, especially when your team-mate is Fernando," he said. "That's all you can take really, I mean we were two or three tenths off of the car in front that got into Q2. Even with the perfect lap and with the perfect balance, which is always going to be difficult to get because I missed so much of day one, we still wouldn't be in Q2.

"It's a shame and we pretty much knew this was going to be a tough race for us. I think we start 15th with all the grid penalties and we'll see what happens. I'm not sure it's going to be the most exciting race for us, but we will do our best and stay positive. Hopefully the rest of the team will do the same here and part missing."