Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he is hoping that his good Valencia fortune will remain strong in Sunday's European Grand Prix, having finished second in each previous race held on the streets around the city's Americas Cup harbour.
The Briton claimed runner-up spot behind Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello in 2008 and 2009 respectively, and qualified third for round nine of the 2010 season, behind the two Red Bull entries of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Despite admitting that he had been surprised by RBR's return to form, aided by the team's decision to run its F-duct system for the first time in a qualifying session, Hamilton was happy to have been so close to the front while waiting for McLaren's latest update, due for Silverstone in two weeks' time, but acknowledged that it would be a tough task to continue his run of results with Ferrari and Renault also looking strong.
"This track has generally been good to me in the past, and I'm hoping that it will continue that way," he noted, "Like I said, we really feel that we haven't made a step forward since the last race for a good couple of races - we're still waiting on our update and we know that Ferrari have brought their update package this weekend. All of a sudden, they're blistering quick, as were the Red Bulls. They still have an advantage on us, but we're still there and we're still pushing and optimising the package that we have.
"I definitely think it is going to be an interesting race. It is going to be interesting how we manage the tyres and how they behave. I think they will behave a little bit better than the last race, but I think anything is possible from there.
"We are all hopefully in a good position to start - I cannot complain [about] where we are starting from. Pit-stops will be crucial but, hopefully, we will get some good pit-stops, but the first corner and the first few laps will be crucial for position. Anything is possible tomorrow and we will be pushing as hard as we can to win it. "
As for the next step forward from McLaren, the team hopes that that will come at its home race at Silverstone, where Woking's take on Red Bull's 'blown diffuser' is due to come on-stream, and Hamilton acknowledges that it needs to be a major development.
"In P3, myself and Jenson [Button] were ninth and tenth - and they were good laps - but everyone else, the fast guys, were eight-tenths ahead of us," he pointed out, "Taking from that, our update needs to be very special.
"I think we're still working on it, but I don't think it's going to be a huge step. Hopefully, it's going to be something we can work on and develop over the next few races, but definitely the more downforce you get, the better it goes, so I'm hoping that we'll close the gap to the Red Bulls and have more of a fighting chance to qualify ahead of them because, when we qualify behind them, that always makes the race a lot harder."