Fernando Alonso was unimpressed with his running in Friday's practice in Japan after falling behind a Toro Rosso and a McLaren.
Although the Spaniard and his team-mate Felipe Massa were on the heels of the Mercs and Red Bulls in the morning's session, the Ferrari duo were unable to put in a repeat performance in the afternoon.
While Massa finished eight, Alonso was down in 10th place with both Lotus drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button all ahead of him.
The double World Champion's 1:35.087 was also a full second short of Sebastian Vettel's P1 time.
"In terms of competitiveness, we are not in the position we wanted. So definitely we need to improve. We were not at a good level today," Alonso told Sky Sports F1.
"Mercedes and Red Bull, Lotus in a way, they are in front of us and they should be in front of us.
"But we have Ricciardo, we have the McLaren - we have people that are normally behind us and today they are in front."
However, it wasn't all down to a lack of pace as Alonso also had a spin on his first flying lap on the medium tyres.
"We didn't extract the maximum today. I had a mistake with a spin; things were not good enough today.
"We need to raise the game for tomorrow and do a good lap tomorrow in Q3 because it's important to start from the front."