Jenson Button says the sheer difference in speed between the McLaren-Honda and its rivals during the Japanese Grand Prix is so great that he and his rivals 'don't know what to do' when he is being overtaken.

Button benefitted from a melee at the start of Honda's home event to run 12th initially - with team-mate Fernando Alonso in ninth -, but their bright starts simply served to amplify the McLaren's lack of pace down the home straight as both drivers were repeatedly drafted by other cars.

With Button at one point being overtaken either side by Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen, the Englishman was not only frustrated with yet more struggles for the team, but suggested there is a concern for safety given he doesn't know how to defend given the vast speed differential.

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"When there is that much difference in speed, you don't know what to do," he said. "You don't know when they will be there because the speed difference is so high and in the end you just back out... I had the same thing happen at 130R. It's the same for them, there is such a difference in speed they don't know whether to go down the inside or not. It made it tricky."

Despite this, Button soldiered on as he fought a rear guard action, but after losing out to Marcus Ericsson in his second stop, his inability to overtake meant he would simply be swallowed up by several drivers recovering from incidents behind him.

"On the last stint, if we were in front of Ericsson, we would have been fine because we were quicker and he was holding everyone up. Fernando was able to do his own race, so I would have been behind Fernando. As soon as Ericsson was in front of me, I can't overtake but they can overtake me really easily. Every lap I was getting passed or getting lapped."

Finishing 16th, Button's struggles come against the backdrop of questions over his career, but having remained silent on his future, Ron Dennis says it has taken up its contract with him and he will remain with the team in 2016.