Kimi Raikkonen believes Sebastian Vettel ranks up there as one of Formula One's greatest drivers.
The triple World Champion is on the cusp of winning a fourth successive Drivers' title this season and could in fact wrap up it in Japan.
Should Vettel win Sunday's grand prix and Fernando Alonso finish ninth or lower, Vettel will have title number four.
Only two drivers, Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio, have won four or more consecutive titles which puts Vettel up there with the best.
Asked if he believes the Red Bull racer will go down as one of the greats, Raikkonen reckons his friend already deserves the honour.
He told ESPN: "For sure he is.
"He doesn't need to win any more races or Championships and he's achieved a hell of a lot in his career already.
"For sure he's achieved a lot and he's a very good guy and a good driver as well."
Next season Raikkonen will be returning to Ferrari leaving current team-mate Romain Grosjean to lead Lotus.
Asked whether the Frenchman has what it takes, Raikkonen said: "Time will tell. I have no interest to start guessing what will happen to any of us in the future.
"We will see at some point, but for sure he is a fast driver and he's doing better than he has done before.
"Yes [he's a challenger]; he's been fast but they all are in Formula One."
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