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Hamilton eyes chance to drive train

23 May 2013

Lewis Hamilton knows frustration, but is fully prepared to be the one dishing it out in Monaco this weekend.

Just two weeks ago, the Briton saw a potential opportunity to open his victory account with Mercedes slip away as his tyres failed to last in Barcelona. Similarly, he qualified on pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, but had to make do with a battling third in the race. This weekend, however, he is confident that the Three Pointed Star could be on course to join Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus as a 2013 racewinner – particularly if it can continue its run of fastest qualifying times.

Even if the W04 can't match its rivals for race pace, Monaco provides the ideal opportunity for the man in front to stay there if he can avoid the unforgiving walls that line the street circuit.

"Positioning is everything here and, if we can get on the front row, that will put us in good stead for the race," Hamilton told journalists in the Principality, "In 2007, I was in second place and couldn't get past Fernando [Alonso]. Last year, no-one could get past [Mark] Webber…. It was just a train.

“[Spain] was my best chance to get a win and we didn't do it. This is another chance, another opportunity to do that. You can create a train here, [and] the best chance is when you get on pole position."

Both Alonso and Webber have tipped Mercedes as the potential favourite for victory in Monaco, for the same reasons that give Hamilton cause for optimism, the Briton having already pointed out that Michael Schumacher was able to put last year's less competitive W03 on pole.

Although the German was unable to take up his spot at the front of the grid due a penalty hanging over him from the preceding Spanish Grand Prix, his achievement resonated with Hamilton once the McLaren stalwart had made up his mind to join Mercedes. After Barcelona 2013, however, the Briton – who came from behind after clouting the barrier to win the 2008 Monaco race – is keeping his expectations in check.

"We were on a bit of a high [after qualifying] so, to see us then go back that far, was definitely a huge surprise and put us on the back foot a little,” he admitted, “However, I feel positive about this weekend. I'm re-energised, refocused and ready for another challenge.

"There has been a huge reaction from the guys to the result. Everyone is working as hard as they can to improve and understand the tyres. Spain could easily be repeated if we get it wrong, but I don't think it's going to happen because we have learned.

“We went a direction in the last race with the car and tyres that didn't help. The problems we had in the previous races weren't too big, so we have taken a step back and gone in a different direction. We still need to experiment, to try different pressures, different temperatures and all those kind of things. Hopefully, we will find the right path sooner rather than later.”


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