Lewis Hamilton admits there was no way he could have matched Sebastian Vettel's pole position time as the German was just too quick.
Hamilton appeared the most likely to launch an attempt at Vettel's P1 slot as he was lying in second place before those in the top ten put in their final laps at Monza.
However, pushing hard, too hard, the McLaren driver made a mistake at the second chicane and had to settle for second place.
But while he was lamenting his error, Vettel put in his final lap and put more distance between himself and the Brit as he clocked a 1:22.275, 0.0450s up on Hamilton.
"In Q1 and Q2 it was relatively close and they pull out half a second (in Q3), Hamilton said.
"I didn't have another half a second in the bag.
"We had a couple of tenths up on the car. The guys did a fantastic job to bring new components to the circuit, and we were very competitive.
"Seb was quicker today. We looked like we would be quite competitive through the weekend but today on the last lap he was untouchable."
And his team-mate Jenson Button, who qualified in third place after aborting his final lap, agreed with his compatriot.
"We were never going to challenge Seb," said Button.
"The strange thing is they don't look like they're carrying a lot of wing, but they're still half a second quicker than us in the second sector, which is the high-speed corners. Difficult to understand."
But while McLaren may have come second in qualifying, Hamilto reckons they have a shot at achieving a good result come Sunday.
He does, however, concede that his first target is to "finish" the race, something he failed to do last time out in Belgium.
"It is a long race tomorrow. The target is to finish. In the race I think we will be able to finish up quite high," he said.
"I am pretty happy to be back up there getting another opportunity to have another good race tomorrow and hopefully things turn out better than the last race."