Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat accept the squad simply lacks pace as the pair qualified in the midfield for the Russian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo made it through to Q3 but was the slowest of the 10 runners, while Kvyat could manage only 11th and was eliminated in Q2.
"We were slower with the set-up we had in Q3 but we’ve learned which direction to go in for tomorrow, so that’s a positive," said Ricciardo.
"Even with a good lap, at this track, we were probably looking at ninth for qualifying at best, so we didn’t lose too much. We’ll do what we can in the race; we have some strong teams around us, but we will push."
Kvyat will start his home race from sixth positions lower down on the grid compared to when he raced for Toro Rosso in 2014.
"I felt I did all I could this afternoon," he rued. "Unfortunately, we only had one quick lap available on the last set of tyres so we had to go out a little bit later than we would have liked to.
"On the first timed lap I didn’t feel the tyres were ready and I could easily have improved on a second lap, because that was the pattern, but we just didn’t have time for a second push lap, so it’s a bit disappointing."