Sergio Perez says he is hopeful of challenging for his first points finish in Monte Carlo this weekend as he prepares to tackle the Monaco Grand Prix for a second time.

Having been forced to sit out the event during his F1 debut season following a heavy crash in qualifying, Perez battled hard to take eleventh last year despite starting on the back row of the grid after hitting the barriers in the opening stage of qualifying.

The Mexican will now aim to score on the Monaco streets for the first time on what is his first run in the principality for McLaren, and the 23-year-old said he was hopeful that his team could make further improvements to enable him to push for a top ten finish.

"Monaco is a great challenge for the drivers," he said. "It's the only circuit on the calendar where you have to build up your speed during practice, rather than going flat-out on lap one. You push a little bit harder with every lap, getting a bit closer to the barriers each time.

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"But it's not just the track that makes Monaco special; it's the atmosphere as well. The grandstands are closer to the track here than anywhere else on the calendar and that gives us a very close connection to the spectators. The huge grandstand between Tabac and the Swimming Pool can get pretty noisy when it's full, which is great.

"Last year was my first Monaco Grand Prix. I missed out on a World Championship point by one position and I'm looking to change that this year. The MP4-28 is improving, as we introduce upgrades and understand its performance better. It was more driveable in Spain a couple of weeks ago, particularly on light tanks. That will be vital in Monaco because qualifying is very important."

With McLaren having won more races than any other team in Monaco, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was hopeful of seeing both Perez and team-mate Jenson Button fight for points as the team seeks to rebound from its tough start to the year.

"Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has a fabulous record in Monte Carlo," he said. "We've taken 15 wins - more than any other constructor - through the streets of the Principality and while we're not yet in a position to challenge for victories this year, we'll relish the challenge provided by this race and we hope to challenge for more points with both cars.

"Our aim is to continue improving the performance of the MP4-28 in Monaco. The tight and twisty nature of the circuit makes its requirements fairly exceptional, but every kilometer that we complete with the car provides us with useful data because we have a very busy development programme.

"Monaco is one of the jewels in Formula One's crown. It's an iconic setting and the race has a lot of history. I'm proud of McLaren's peerless record in the Principality and would love nothing than to add to it this year."