Budapest: Double world champion Fernando Alonso marked his 30th birthday on Friday with a declaration that he is intent on winning Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix and blowing the world title fight wide open.
The Ferrari driver, who was second fastest behind Lewis Hamilton, of McLaren, in free practice, said he was certain he could mount a serious bid for victory that would help keep his championship hopes alive.
"I think it's going to be pretty close so that's good news for us," he said. "In the first races it was unthinkable that we could win. We tried to get podiums and get close to them.
"Now we approach the weekend as we approached the last two -- knowing that in qualifying we can be up there in the top five, but we can be second, fourth or first as it's not very clear who can fight for pole.
"And then in the race I think we can be up there with them as happened at the Nurburgring. It's going to be very tight between the three teams."
Alonso has been the most consistent driver in the last three races, with a win at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix, sandwiched between two second places at the European and German Grands Prix, lifting his and the Italian team's morale as they try to catch runaway leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull in the title race.
He says Red Bull remain the dominant force, but he is looking confident and relaxed following his recent return to form, and even a minor fire at the rear of his car failed to dampen the mood on the day.
"We have to win, we have to take some risks and we have to be consistent," he said.
"There is a long way to go and if we can win, anything can happen (in the title race)."
Even turning 30, and leaving his twenties behind, had clearly not upset him as many observers pointed out, noting that Alonso was still following in Michael Schumacher's footsteps in arriving at Ferrari with two world titles to his name.
The German driver, who is now 42, then went on to deliver five more drivers' championships in his time with the scarlet scuderia.
"People talk a lot about these things, don't they?" said Alonso. "But, to be honest, I never thought I'd have two world championships at 30.
"I knew how difficult it is to succeed in Formula One and I was extremely lucky. I'm not thinking to have seven world titles as Michael has at 42-years-old.
"Now, F1 is so competitive, so close, so it's hard to see such a dominant figure again. Seven will be a record that will stay for many, many years."