Fernando Alonso has predicted that the battle for fourth in the Formula 1 Constructors' Championship between Alpine and McLaren will be only decided in the Abu Dhabi season-finale.
With four rounds remaining in 2022, Alpine enjoy a slim 13 point lead over McLaren for fourth place, with the two changing positions over recent race weekends.
The advantage is with the Enstone team following fourth and seventh in the Japanese GP, while McLaren could only haul a single point.
Despite this - and the Alpine's pace advantage, Alonso is still sure that it will be "tight" between his current and former employers.
Alonso and Ricciardo on fight for fourth
"I think there's going to be some weekends that we can score a few more points and then some of those, we will score less," Alonso told media prior to the Japanese GP.
"Singapore was standing out because it was a big loss in points there [for Alpine with a double DNF while McLaren scored 22 points with fourth and fifth.]
"It is going to be very, very tight until Abu Dhabi."
Despite Alpine having the faster car, McLaren has kept tabs largely thanks to the efforts of Lando Norris - who is seventh in the Drivers'.
Norris has 101 points to Ricciardo's 29, while the Alpine duo are more evenly matched on 78 for Esteban Ocon and Alonso on 65.
It means Alonso has harvested 83.3% of Ocon's tally while that falls drastically to just 28.71% for Norris and Ricciardo - one of the worst conversation rates.
Despite his poor showing across the season, Ricciardo is still optimistic that McLaren can nab fourth as he prepares to depart the team.
"That's the sport, like it can turn around just as quickly as a couple of hours on a Sunday [and the result in Singapore] has obviously put us back into the fight.
"That is good as it felt like it was starting to slowly get away from us, but a big weekend got us right back [in the fight] so we are happy and will try to take it down to the wire."
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