Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso maintains he is the still the fastest driver on the F1 grid, saying he can defeat any competitor if they were in the same car.
A decade on from his two drivers' world titles achieved with Renault in 2005 and 2006, Alonso remains one of F1's most respected competitors having amassed 32 wins and 97 podiums, but his switch from Ferrari to McLaren in 2015 has seen him lumbered with relatively uncompetitive machinery.
With his 2016 campaign already compromised by his mammoth accident during the Australian Grand Prix – which forced him to miss the following Bahrain race -, Alonso nonetheless says his confidence hasn't been diminished by the fact he hasn't topped the podium since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.
Indeed, though Alonso says he doesn't believe he is necessarily the strongest driver in any particular area, as a package he feels he remains the best 'overall' driver in F1.
"I always feel confident about beating anyone," he told Martin Brundle in an interview with Sky Sports F1
"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."
Contracted with McLaren to the end of the 2017 season, though the form of the MP4-31 – which has scored just one point in the hands of Alonso's Bahrain deputy Stoffel Vandoorne – seems unlikely to procure him a win this year, he remains convinced he can win a third title in F1.
With this in mind, he is hoping the proposed change in regulations for next year will spur that bid on.
"Right now I don't think that we are enjoying driving as much as we should do. 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."