Rubens Barrichello has tipped Fernando Alonso to hang onto his championship lead all the way to the 2012 finale.

Asked by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper to pick this year's title winner, the most experienced driver in F1 history answered: "I think Alonso."

After a record-setting career spanning 326 grands prix, 40-year-old Brazilian Barrichello switched to Indycars this year when he lost his Williams race seat.

Explaining his reason for choosing Alonso as the likely 2012 champion, he added: "Hamilton is the guy in F1 with the most natural speed, but Alonso is the most complete.

"That's why it's so difficult for Felipe (Massa), because he's always comparing to the strongest of all."

Barrichello, however, said his countryman Massa could have a chance to keep his Ferrari seat in 2013, because he has been "very close to Alonso in recent races".

Meanwhile, Barrichello suggested that he was considered by Lotus to replace the banned Romain Grosjean at Monza recently.

"In the end they had the pressure to use their third driver," he said, referring to Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio.

He still regrets Williams' decision to overlook him for a 2012 race seat.

"I'm not saying I would do better than the guys (Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna) who are there," said Barrichello.

"Just that with a good car, it is natural to expect a more experienced driver to get more points," he added.

Barrichello admits he misses F1.

"You do not date someone for 19 years and then forget about them the next day. It hurt my son Eduardo to watch the first race in Melbourne on TV," he said.

He hinted he will attend November's 2012 season finale in his native Sao Paulo.

"I have many friends in formula one and I want to see them," said Barrichello.

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