Fernando Alonso has dismissed every bookmaker's suggestion he is favourite for this year's Formula One world championship.
With a 40-point cushion to his nearest rival in Red Bull's Mark Webber, Alonso is evens with predominantly all the major bookies. Spearheaded by Webber, just eight points cover the Australian, team-mate and reigning double world champion Sebastian Vettel, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen in the chasing pack.
But despite a run of 23 consecutive races in the points, Alonso said: "When you stop for four or five weeks and you have a chance to look at the classification you can see we have a good advantage. But two or three bad races can see you lose everything, and in terms of performance, from the guys at the front we are clearly the slowest."
He added: "We have a points advantage, but a performance disadvantage, so I don't think we are any favourite."
Hamilton and Vettel, though, have scoffed at Alonso's comments, in particular the former with regard to the claim the Ferrari is the slowest of the leading contenders.
"He would say that, wouldn't he?" said Hamilton with a smile, with the Briton 47 points adrift of Alonso. "He's just positioning himself in a nice way. I could say the same thing, that our car is definitely the slowest out of the top four teams."
As for Vettel, with the German 42 points down, he said: "He's leading, so he's favourite.
"And he's not leading just because someone wrote a cheque and gave him his points. He deserves to be leading.
"If you look at the beginning of the season, starting with the winter testing, Ferrari had a lot of criteria.
"But then they got their act together, built a very competitive car, and they have been competitive in all kinds of circumstances and conditions. If you look at the races they have been quick enough to be on the podium, win races sometimes, and that's what matters, to have that consistency and consistently strong results."