F1 Raceweek: Alonso tight-lipped on future as Hamilton vows to attack
Fernando Alonso's Formula One future dominated the build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix on Thursday, but the Spaniard remained tight-lipped on what 2018 has in store.
Alonso has encountered numerous reliability problems with McLaren this season, leading to speculation he will leave the team in search of a competitive car.
The two-time world champion had previously said his decision will come in September, so naturally it was a hot topic at the drivers' media conference in Singapore.
Many expect Mercedes to struggle to live with Ferrari and Red Bull at the Marina Bay circuit, but championship leader Lewis Hamilton was in bullish mood as he faced the media, while Daniel Ricciardo is dreaming of future titles.
McLAREN HOLD THE KEY FOR ALONSO
Alonso may have had frustrations with McLaren this season, but he wants to remain loyal to the British team and insists their own plans - which reportedly include moving from Honda to Renault engines - will influence his.
"I will think what is the best option and as I have said, what I do next year is because I want to win, I will not be around fighting for top 10 or anything like that," said the 36-year-old.
"I have lots of options I am studying, Formula One is my first and only priority, I will wait to make a decision on that before any other series.
"I want to give time to my team to make decisions, to see the future, to see next year's car, after they take a decision I will take mine, I want to stay loyal.
"I am relaxed, happy and we will see what will happens."
HAMILTON ON 'FULL ATTACK'
Top spot on the grid has been crucial in Singapore since it came onto the calendar in 2008, with seven pole sitters going on to win the race.
Twice Hamilton has taken the chequered flag having started first, and he knows with the difficulties in overtaking mean it is imperative to perform well on Saturday.
"You can't overtake here, and the cars are wider so positioning is important and qualifying is one of the key matters," he said.
"I think Red Bull will be fast this weekend, it is not easiest of weekends [for Mercedes] potentially, but I am coming with positivity to win this race, we come here on full attack."
RICCIARDO DREAMING OF 2018 TITLE
Six podiums have helped Daniel Ricciardo claim fourth place in the standings, but he remains 94 points behind leader Hamilton.
The Australian hopes that will change next year, though, after the encouraging developments throughout the season.
"We want to win and win more next year," he said.
"We want to be fighting for a title and we're certainly going in that direction, Melbourne feels like another season, so we need to keep progressing and take that into 2018."
PALMER NOT FAZED BY RENAULT SPECULATION
Jolyon Palmer is one of only three drivers yet to score a point in 2017, but he remains optimistic he will not be replaced for the final six races of the season.
The Briton has had three 11th-placed finishes for Renault and, despite reports of Robert Kubica and Carlos Sainz Jr taking his drive, he believes that will be enough to get him all the way to Abu Dhabi.
"I've got seven races to do," he said. "I'll be in Malaysia, I'll be racing until Abu Dhabi. I have a contract, I've got seven more races this year.
"There has been suggestions for I think 35 races that I might not be at the next one or in the next few.
"This is nothing new for me, it's water off a duck's back now. It's been the same at most races this year and nothing changed."