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Fernando Alonso fumes at Honda's 'GP2 engine' at Suzuka

Mirko Stange/Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso labelled Honda's power unit "embarrassing" and a "GP2 engine" during a frustrating Japanese Grand Prix which saw him unable to fight for positions on the main straight.

McLaren arrived at Honda's home race with the Japanese manufacturer still struggling with battery deployment, something which accounts for upwards of 160BHP. From the start of the race it was clear Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button were completely unmatched for power down the start/finish straight, especially when cars behind had the benefit of DRS.

Alonso's radio messages became increasingly fraught as the race went on, with the Spaniard comparing Honda's power unit to the cars in F1's feeder category.

On lap six, when the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson eased past the two-time world champion on the run down into Turn 1, Alonso told McLaren: "It feels like GP2. Embarrassing. Very embarrassing. I'll do my best..."

Alonso managed to hold Daniil Kvyat at bay for a while in the second stint, but only because the Red Bull driver was having engine issues of his own. Kvyat in turn was holding up Max Verstappen and once the Red Bull pitted Alonso had the Toro Rosso right on his gearbox.

Alonso held firm for four laps before Verstappen made an easy pass at the same place as Ericsson lap 26, to which he again took to the radio to say: "GP2 engine! GP2 engine! Agggh!"

Later in the race, Alonso was 11th and in a long train of cars a lap down. The Spaniard pondered how McLaren was in a position to be in front of so many midfield cars.

"What are the drivers we are racing with? Unbelievable ... Poor guys."

When asked about the comments after the race Alonso said: "No, when you are on the track there is not much joy when you are being overtaken like us - it's very frustrating. Also because you see the other guys on the corners having difficulties with the car, out of the racing line, they are braking late, they are making mistakes, and even with that they are overtaking you on a straight, not even on a braking point.

"It's frustrating, and when we are in a group it is even more. When we are along more or less we enjoy driving but when we are in a group it is frustrating right now."