Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off Ferrari's apparent performance advantage to push himself forward as a candidate for victory in the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Briton, whose record run of four successive podium finishes since making his debut have helped him to become the youngest outright leader of the world championship since Bruce McLaren, has an enviable record in the Principality, having never lost a race there. Double-header success in the F3 Euroseries in 2005 was followed by a commanding performance en route to last year's GP2 Series title, giving the McLaren driver added confidence ahead of the blue riband event.

"Monaco has always been a very strong race for me, and I was saying to Felipe [Massa] that, one day, we will get them," Hamilton said after finishing as runner-up to the Brazilian for the second race in a row, "I think we'll be very strong in Monaco, so I'm looking forward to it. Again, it's one where we're going to be pushing hard to get as many points as we can but, for sure, I'm going to be going in for a win."

Despite being unable to live with Massa's pace in Barcelona, Hamilton insisted that he was not concerned by Ferrari's apparent advantage, claiming that there were extenuating circumstances.

"I'm not particularly worried," he said, "They obviously had very good pace, but we were slightly heavier in the first stint - and also in the second stint - and we just struggled at the beginning to warm the tyres up. We had a bit of oversteer, and that enabled him to pull away.

"When the car's balance came quite good, I was able to produce the same sort of times as him but, by then, he had already got quite a big gap. I kept pushing, but again we just struggled a bit in traffic. I was a bit unfortunate to be coming down the pit straight when one of the Spykers came out [of the pits]. I literally came across it in the corner and got stuck behind it. But that's racing. I'm really happy with [the race] and we're leading the championship. I couldn't be happier."



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