Fernando Alonso is bidding to re-assert his authority over young team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix, by triumphing for a second consecutive year and maintaining McLaren's superb record in the most glamorous race of them all.

The Spaniard lifted the silverware following a dominant display around the Principality's tortuous public streets in 2006, and is keen to reclaim his status within the Woking squad following Hamilton's stunning start to the season that has seen the Briton seize the championship lead after the opening four grands prix - and outpace Alonso in three of them.

"Monaco is one of those races that, at the start of the year, you mark down as one you really want to win," the reigning double world champion stated. "I took the victory in the grand prix last year, and although it was an emotional weekend it was an amazing feeling, one I will race hard to try and repeat again this season.

"I have not had the results I wanted in the previous two races, however I have kept scoring good points and we have continued to develop the performance of the car."

Alonso currently sits two points adrift of his team-mate at the top of the drivers' standings, but is well aware Monaco's perilous nature and propensity to bite could so easily see that situation dramatically alter with just one wrong flick of the steering wheel.

"At Monaco you have to really keep your concentration at all times and push to the limit," the 25-year-old underlined. "It is very easy for things to go wrong at this track because it is very narrow and the barriers are very close, but that is why you have to stay focused. Because of the barriers and the need to be very accurate, you do have to use a slightly different driving style here to perform well over the weekend. You tend to be less aggressive in the braking zones.

"You also need to set the car up with a responsive front, so you can be on the throttle as early as possible in the middle section of the corner without waiting for the car to turn; it is ways like this that you can find the milliseconds you need in Monaco."

His sentiments were echoed by those of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug, keen to help add to McLaren's 13 victories in Monaco in the squad's 41 appearances in the race. The German knows the test the teams must face there is unlike any other on the Formula 1 calendar.

"Appearances are deceptive," he cautioned. "The shortest circuit with the lowest average speed, shortest race distance and slowest corner is always the greatest challenge of the Formula 1 season. This is because of the unparalleled track layout along the city streets, including a tunnel passage where you reach more than 280 km/h at the exit. We all are aware that the 2007 race will be a bigger and more competitive challenge than ever before."

 

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