Alonso has produced a solid campaign on his return to F1 this season after a two-year sabbatical, scoring points in 14 of the 20 grands prix with Alpine, culminating in his third-place finish behind Hamilton and Verstappen in Qatar on Sunday.
Now 40, the Spanish driver has often shown great racecraft, producing some fine overtaking manoeuvres and showing great defensive skills when required in a car that has effectively been the fifth or sixth quickest on the grid.
It has led many to suggest Alonso could again challenge for a third title if given the car, potentially as early as next year given the major overhaul to the aerodynamic regulations.
Imagining a future title fight with seven-time champion Hamilton and Red Bull driver Verstappen, who is going for his first this year, Alonso said: "Well, it’s difficult to predict what is going to happen in the next few years.
"But yeah, I would love to be in the fight with them, and whoever makes a good car next year, I think it’s a reset for everybody and it’s up to us to produce a fast car.
"It’s not like this year, which was a continuation of the last campaign, but in 2022 everyone has the same cards.
"So we need to play smarter and hopefully produce a fast car and if we are in that position, I feel strong, I feel ready to take the battle and let’s see."
Alonso on "another level" over two halves of the season
In Qatar, Alonso delivered a superb performance on Saturday to qualify fifth before starting from third after penalties to Verstappen and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.
The two-time champion then produced a stunning overtake around the outside of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly early on to run second before making a one-stop strategy work to perfection to land third.
Assessing whether it was his best weekend of the season, he said: "Difficult to know. Probably as a weekend in general, it was the best because Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it was very consistent.
"Sochi [Russian GP], I think was quite well-executed as well. Only the rain at the end stopped us from the podium there.
"Yeah, I think the last part of this 2021 for sure it’s another level compared to the first part, so I’m happy with this comeback year and the preparation into next year is definitely another level now."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.