McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are optimistic about their chances in the Monaco Grand Prix after a strong start to the weekend during Thursday's free practice sessions.

Hamilton was second quickest behind the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso having lapped less than a tenth of a second behind the Spaniard in the second 90 minute session.

The Briton insisted he was happy with the performance of his car during Thursday's running as he seeks to secure another Monaco win, although he admitted it was goingto be close amongst the front-runners.

"I'm really pleased with the balance of the car and I kept out of trouble, but it's going to be close here," he said. "You quickly get used to DRS and KERS Hybrid, but you're only really on it for the pit straight and up the hill; you tend not to use it through the slower sections. Maybe I'll find a few more places to use it for qualifying - but I'll keep that in my pocket!

"I just love driving the car here - it's the best thing I've ever done! It's so exciting - you can't afford to make mistakes, the car feels amazing when you're jumping from kerb to kerb, and there's no room for error.

"I want to win this grand prix!"

Button ended the day fourth quickest but was ahead of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and he said he felt more at home in the car than he had done in 2010 in what was his first Monaco outing with McLaren.

"I feel more comfortable with the car than I did last year, but there are still a few areas that need tweaking," he said. "Our car feels reasonably quick, but there's an awful lot of competition out there.

"There's a lot less degradation than I think we all expected. I did a long-run on the Super-Soft, and while there's some degradation, it's reasonably good. The same is true of the harder tyre. But it's still not easy to decide what strategy will work best around here on Sunday afternoon."

Button added that, having had the chance to sample DRS on the street circuit, he was fully behind the decision taken to ban its usage in the Monaco tunnel.

"DRS and KERS Hybrid both work around here - I have no issues about deploying DRS, but I'm happy we can't use it in the tunnel," he said. "The FIA definitely made the right decision there. I think we've also worked out where to best use KERS Hybrid."

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