World championship leader Fernando Alonso has urged now is the time for McLaren-Mercedes to make hay during the 2007 campaign, as he approaches back-to-back flyaway races that have traditionally not shone on him.

The Spaniard reclaimed control of the drivers' title chase following his flawless victory in Monaco last weekend, and is now aiming to hammer home that advantage with similar performances in both Montreal and Indianapolis as the Formula 1 circus flies across the Pond for rounds six and seven on consecutive weekends. His Canadian triumph last year aside, the reigning double world champion has notched up only two other points-scoring finishes and six retirements from nine starts in the dual transatlantic outings, but he is convinced this year will be a different story.

"We have a great momentum in the team right now after such a fantastic result in Monaco," the 25-year-old asserted, "and that is a positive way to be going into the North American double-header. There has been no opportunity to test since Monaco, however the team has been pushing hard off-track to keep the momentum going.

"Until last year I hadn't had great results in Canada, so it was fantastic to win there. It is always a tough race, and you see a lot of retirements because you are stressing the whole car with the high speeds and the hard-braking zones. The track conditions also change over the race weekend and the grip levels improve as more rubber is laid down in the dusty conditions. On race day it is much better than on the Friday.

"We have some new packages on the car for Montreal and we are all pushing hard to attack and fight for more victories. It is a good circuit to race on as there are a number of places you can overtake, which makes it more exciting for the drivers, teams and fans."

McLaren-Mercedes CEO Martin Whitmarsh is also optimistic of being able to carry over the squad's impressive form from Monaco, though equally well aware the high-speed straights and low grip levels in Montreal will represent an altogether different challenge to the tortuously narrow streets of Monte Carlo.

"The Canadian Grand Prix is a very different event to the Monaco race," the Briton underlined. "We go from the slowest, tightest track on the calendar and one packed with corners, to a circuit that is all about long periods of power and braking. The MP4-22 performed incredibly well in Monte Carlo, but as the track conditions are poles apart we are not going to Montreal with the same expectations.

"We go to Canada aiming to fight for victory and maintain our positions at the top of both the constructors' and drivers' championships. The test at Paul Ricard prior to Monaco had two days of Canada running and useful intelligence was gained. It is going to be a tougher battle and the track is notoriously tough on race cars, but we will keep pushing."

 

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