Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton do not believe Ferrari is truly an underdog in the 2012 Formula 1 title battle and reckon Fernando Alonso's car is now a match for his main rivals'.
Despite holding a 40-point World Championship lead, Alonso insists that Ferrari is the "slowest" of the top teams. But Red Bull driver Vettel argued that Alonso could not hold such a commanding points lead if his car was not up to the task.
"He's not just leading because someone wrote a check and gave him that amount of points. I think he deserves to lead," Vettel said. "If you look at the beginning of the season and then winter testing, Ferrari seemed to have a lot of problems and then they got their act together and built a very competitive car. And they have been competitive in all kinds of circumstances and conditions.
"I think they deserve to be in that position and if you look at the last couple of races, they were always quick enough to finish on the podium – and sometimes to win races."
Hamilton, currently in fourth place in the points after his Hungarian Grand Prix win, suggested Alonso was just playing mind games with his statements about Ferrari's pace.
"He would say that wouldn't he?" said the McLaren driver, who is 47 points off the lead. "He is just positioning himself in a nice way.
"I could say the same thing: 'My car is definitely the slowest out of the top four teams, but let's see what we can do with it.'"