London - Fernando Alonso is "very optimistic" that he'll be
in the championship fight next season taking on Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull
drivers for the world title.
The double World Champion was asked by Sky Sports to rate
his rivals for next year's Drivers' Championship and gave a surprising
Although Sebastian Vettel was Hamilton's toughest rival this
season and is on course to finish runner-up in the championship, Alonso reckons
his Ferrari replacement will fall by the wayside.
Instead, he believes it will be McLaren and Red Bull taking
on Hamilton for the 2018 title.
"We'll put me here on the top," he told Sky Sports
when asked to rank next year's championship contenders.
"We are very optimistic that next year will be the year
we come back to the top.
"Then I will put Lewis as the World Champion now and
I'll put Max, Daniel and then I'll put second step all these three guys
[Raikkonen, Bottas and Vettel]."
Asked to then rank Hamilton amongst Formula 1's World
Champions, the Spaniard replied: "I think he is one of the greatest,
obviously he has won four titles now.
"It is true that the last three titles, the Mercedes'
World Championships were in a dominant car so those are a little bit easier.
"But," he added, "I consider him one of the
greatest because when he was with McLaren in difficult times he was still
performing supreme and still winning races in cars that weren't in a position
to win races.
"He deserves the success because he was always at the
top of his level."