Fernando Alonso gave further evidence of the challenges facing McLaren-Honda ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix by saying he produced his best-ever lap of the Suzuka Circuit, even if it was only good enough for 14th position.

Though it wasn't quite the happy homecoming for Honda around its own circuit as Alonso went 14th and Jenson Button could only manage 16th, the Spaniard was still pleased with his own efforts.

Indeed, though Alonso will get underway from the sixth row of the grid - having been bumped up a position at the expense of the penalised Nico Hulkenberg -, the two-time champion insists he would struggle to replicate that lap even if he had '100 sets of tyres'.

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"I told the guys this is probably my best lap around here of my career so they could put 100 sets of tyres here for the afternoon and repeat the lap and I could probably not repeat the lap times.

"It is frustrating, no doubt, but it is the situation and everyone is doing their best and working hard to improve the situation. It is not that we are relaxing or not giving the maximum effort - that's encouraging and we have to be patient."

Ahead of the race, Alonso is wary of challenge from behind, saying he expects the Saubers and Max Verstappen to have faster packages, though he is still hoping for 'miracles'

"It will be tough, no doubt. I think there are people behind who are also faster - Verstappen and Sauber, probably, in the race situation - so it will be a tough race but we will do our best and hopefully have some miracles to get some points."