Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso believes Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is an all-time F1 great as he edges closer to claiming a second world title.

Suppose Verstappen wins this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit, plus sets the fastest lap for a bonus point. In that case, he will be crowned as world champion for a second time no matter where rivals Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez finish in Sunday’s race.

If the Dutchman claims the title, the 25-year-old Verstappen will tie with Alpine’s Alonso as a two-time title winner.

Alonso was asked if Verstappen could be considered one of the all-time F1 greats, and he replied: “I think so.

“He is 25, so there is still a long way in front of him. But I wish him more luck than me because I was also 26 with those stats and still have the same stats at 40. But I am sure with Red Bull and how things look for the future, he will only get better.”

This year’s F1 season has been dominated by Verstappen, winning 11 races and appearing on the podium 13 times to lead the drivers’ standings by 104 points, ahead of second-placed Ferrari driver Leclerc.

When asked if it was too soon to name Verstappen in the all-time greats list due to his relatively easy 2022 campaign, Alonso said: “It is very well deserved. They (Red Bull) were the best team and the best driver by far.”

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