Formula 1 - Alonso: Hulkenberg among the best

Fernando Alonso believes Nico Hulkenberg has already proved himself one of the best drivers in Formula 1, and that he deserves a top-line drive as a result.

Hulkenberg has been in fine form over the second half of 2013, scoring points in five of the last seven grands prix and earning a public commendation from Alonso following his "superb" defensive display in Korea.

That run has helped him moved ahead of McLaren's Sergio Perez and into 11th in the drivers' championship, just one point short of the top 10.

Alonso says there should be no sense of surprise over Hulkenberg's form however, particularly given the promise he showed during his maiden campaign in an underperforming Williams.

"For me Nico is one of the best drivers on the grid," Alonso said.

"I said that three years ago, and now everyone seems to have discovered him.

"He is doing a great job, [which] I think is no surprise - he was doing an amazing job [in 2010 with Williams].

"Getting pole position here [in Brazil], in difficult conditions, was a sign of his talent.

"Hopefully we see him in a competitive car in the future."

Hulkenberg has been strongly linked with a move to the Lotus squad, but could miss out as protracted investment talks with Quantum Motorsports potentially open the door for Pastor Maldonado to partner Romain Grosjean in 2014 instead.

The German had initially stated that he wanted his F1 future sorted by the end of October.