Fernando Alonso calls McLaren-Honda Suzuka pace a 'nasty surprise'

McLaren's disappointing performance at Honda's home grand prix at Suzuka on Sunday was a "nasty surprise" according to double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso calls McLaren-Honda Suzuka pace a 'nasty surprise'

While the team scored points in six of the eight events leading up to the Japanese GP, it was off the pace all weekend at the circuit owned by its engine supplier, with Jenson Button explaining on Saturday that the famous Suzuka layout is one of the least-suited to McLaren's strengths.

Alonso and Button finished a distant 16th and 18th in the race, both lapped by the leaders.

"Our race today reflected the whole weekend: it was just anonymous," said Alonso.

"To finish 16th and 18th today is a nasty surprise, especially after finishing seventh in Singapore, and seventh and ninth in Malaysia, just last weekend.

"It was clear that the layout of the track didn't suit our package - we lacked downforce for the faster corners.

"I know our car is much more competitive than we were able to show today, and I'm disappointed about putting on such a poor show at Honda's home race."

Button, who made it clear earlier in the weekend that expectations were always low for Suzuka, said the race was even worse than expected.

"It's a shame that this is our bogey track as it's our second home," he said.

"But when I saw 18th on the board on the last lap I was actually surprised, I didn't think it was quite that bad.

"We were a long way behind the points, a very tough day and a tough weekend.

"It was pretty horrific but I still had some fun overtaking, a few little battles.

"I'm sure that all the specialists that are watching on TV or commentating have their views and will be very negative about us today which is fair enough but you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

"Nobody expected us to finish seventh and ninth in the last race, so some circuits suit us, some don't and the next one [Austin] will so we're in good shape for that one."

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said to underperform in front of Honda's loyal fanbase made the result even more painful.

"There's no point denying that we're disappointed, because we are," he said.

"Having scored points with both cars last weekend in Malaysia, to finish 16th and 18th here in Japan is hard to take.

"We would love to have been able to give the Suzuka fans something better to cheer about - next year we will."

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