Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug has underlined Formula One partner McLaren's promise to allow its two drivers to race with each other over the rest of the season, after it was caught up in a 'team orders' row following the Monaco Grand Prix.

Echoing the team's line that the Principality posed a different problem to the rest of the circuits on the calendar, Haug admitted that no-one would be happier to see Lewis Hamilton challenging Fernando Alonso than he would, despite the fact that McLaren has strong opposition from Ferrari in this year's championship.

"At McLaren, there is no number one," he told Germany's Express newspaper, "Here, there is always the freedom to race. We know what we are doing, and we would be just as delighted to see Lewis win."

Although McLaren was quickly cleared of any impropriety after Monaco, observers will be keeping a close eye on its tactics in the coming races, with the suggestion that Hamilton is being sent out to qualify with a heavier fuel load and, therefore, different race plan. But, as team boss Ron Dennis pointed out at the height of the Monaco furore, the Briton would probably have triumphed had the safety car made its customary appearance in the Principality.

Hamilton, for his part, appears to have put his disappointment behind him, but remains determined to open his victory account at the soonest opportunity.

"The result in Monaco was great for everyone in the team," he insisted, "It was a dream result considering it was my first year there in an F1 car, and it means we are going to North America at the top of both championship tables. I cannot wait to get back on track - and focus on racing."

 

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