Jenson Button says his 13th place on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix is a mark of progress for the McLaren-Honda team given the nature of the Sochi Autodrom, but admits it means he will be fighting a rear-guard action come the race.

Out-qualifying team-mate Alonso, Button squeezed into Q2 and proceeded to place the McLaren on the seventh row of the grid in 13th, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa.

Impressed with the result on a circuit he regards as a 'power circuit', Button is nonetheless convinced he won't be going any further forward once the race is underway since the struggles with deployment will limit its chances to fuel save.

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"We got through to Q2 on pure speed rather than any issues other people had which isn't too bad. P13 in Q1 and P13 in Q2 so I think that is basically where we are. I think its our best qualifying on a power circuit, so it is progress. We're running the car a little bit different to normal here because there's so much work going into next year, so that's promising.

"It'll be a tough race for us because of the deployment we have, which will cost us lap time here, and then you have the issue that you use more fuel because you don't have the deployment of other people and fuel is also an issue for us in terms of not having enough in the car."