Fernando Alonso believes Lewis Hamilton's world championship hopes have been hit by the fact that he is now chasing two drivers after Sebastian Vettel's Japanese Grand Prix victory.
Vettel is now just four points behind Alonso, who had enjoyed a reasonable buffer over the German before last weekend. But while Vettel was previously part of the chasing pack along with Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, his wins in the last two races have enabled him to break clear of the others and potentially set up a head to head fight with Alonso.
Speaking in the paddock ahead of this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, Alonso said: "I think it is more difficult for Lewis because now it is not only one driver ahead that you need to take points from.
"We [Alonso and Vettel] are two with more or less the same, and [Hamilton] is back, so the chance is a little bit lower."
However, Alonso refused to rule Hamilton out of contention, pointing to the pace McLaren showed in taking four consecutive pole positions prior to Suzuka.
"He still has the possibility," he added. "If we see the form of McLaren and Lewis from before Japan, there is still plenty of time and plenty of points to do it."
Alonso also called on his Ferrari team not to over-react to the fact that he has suffered two retirements in the last four races, which has decimated his championship lead.
"It has been a near-perfect championship for us, with good strategies, good approach. For everything we had on our hands, we maximized the points," he said. "We had one zero in Spa and one zero in Suzuka, but these were completely out of our control.
"We don't need to change too many things. We need to keep doing the things we have done so far."