Lewis Hamilton insisted that fifth place in Monaco was the 'maximum possible' although the McLaren ace conceded that his late retirement in Spain meant his focus was on securing points for his championship challenge.

Hamilton had looked set to take second place in Barcelona before an issue with the left-front wheel saw him go off into the barriers in the closing laps - losing 18 points in the process.

After qualifying in fifth place in Monte Carlo, Hamilton was unable to make up ground at the start and found himself following the Ferrari of Felipe Massa throughout the 78 laps, taking the chequered flag in the same place he started.

"I got quite a good start, and was challenging the guys on the second row into turn one, but it just wasn't possible to make a move stick," he reflected afterwards. "It's virtually impossible to overtake around here, especially when the guys in front of me were as fast as I was. After the result in Barcelona, I didn't want any further mishaps, so I just looked after the car and went for the points.

"It was quite a straightforward race for me, and fifth was the maximum possible, but I'm not complaining; we need those points. I know we're working hard to bring improvements to the car for Turkey, and I'm sure we'll be able to make up the gap to the front at some stage soon."

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted that Hamilton's performance in the race had been faultless, and agreed with his driver that fifth was the best he could have hoped for.

"Lewis scored a useful ten points as a consequence of his solid run to fifth place," he said, "which, since overtaking is notoriously difficult here at Monaco and since there was no attrition in front of him, was as good a result as he could realistically have hoped for from his fifth position on the grid. He drove faultlessly, in fact, looking after his brakes and tyres throughout."

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