Fernando Alonso: I'm still the quickest driver there is in F1
McLaren driver says he has best "overall" skills and wants third title
By Matthew Morlidge
Last Updated: 30/10/19 11:01am
A defiant Fernando Alonso claims he would beat any driver if he was in a similar car and still harbours hopes of landing a third world title.
Alonso hasn't won a championship since consecutive triumphs with Renault 10 years ago and his decision to join McLaren last season has backfired so far, with the Woking team struggling to recreate past glories with Honda.
The Spaniard, whose start to 2016 was disrupted after a huge crash at the Australian GP, has managed a best finish of fifth during his second spell with McLaren.
However, given the right tools, Alonso still believes he is the best there is in Formula 1.
"I always feel confident about beating anyone," Alonso told Sky F1's Martin Brundle last weekend ahead of his race return in China.
"I don't believe that I'm better than anyone on pure speed in qualifying, I don't think I'm better than anyone in wet conditions, dry conditions, qualifying, race. But if you put me in the same car at the same moment and same track as anyone. I think that I will beat them.
"Maybe I'm not best of all sections, but overall I will beat them."
Brundle then asked if Alonso sees another world championship in the driver looking back at him in the mirror every morning, to which the 35-year-old replied: "Yes, definitely."
Alonso admitted he was "lucky to be alive" after his high-speed collision with Haas' Esteban Gutierrez in the season-opener, but admitted that his "stupid" initial thoughts were on getting back to racing, whether that be in an impossible-to-repair MP4-31 or even a third car.
He was replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne in Bahrain - with the youngster collecting McLaren's first points of the season - and confirmed he tried to convince the FIA doctors he was fit to race by performing push-ups in front of them.
Alonso's reintroduction onto the grid at Sunday's Chinese GP didn't quite go to plan - finishing P12 - and with one year remaining on his McLaren contract, and no desire to join another team after that, time is running out if he is to secure another title.
That is why Alonso holds such high hopes for 2017 with changes to engines, tyres and chassis all on the horizon.
"Right now I don't think that we are enjoying driving as much as we should do," he added. "We cannot be seven or eight seconds slower than 10 years ago. This is not fun to drive.
"You are always saving - saving tyres, saving fuel, saving batteries - it is the opposite of our instinct. I hope next year it returns to a more normal driving style."