Monaco preview quotes: McLaren
|Monday, May 10th 2010, 14:29 GMT|
Jenson Button: I won at Monaco last year - it was one of the highlights of my season and also of my entire racing career. It's a race that you grow up watching; you know the circuit, every corner, by heart before you've ever driven there, so it's an extremely special place. It's a race every young driver dreams of winning. Even though I've been racing there for many years, the sensation of speed you experience when you first drive a Formula 1 car out of the pits and up the hill is something that you can never fully anticipate. The acceleration is incredible and the walls are so, so close.
To get the best out of the weekend, you've really got to build your speed up gradually – there are no benefits from attacking from lap one and risking a mistake. The track rubbers in incredibly quickly over the weekend, and it's all about letting the car naturally find more speed through the corners as the conditions improve and your confidence increases. I love the place and I'm really looking forward to getting back there. I think the result is extremely tough to call this year because there are a lot of very competitive drivers in the field, so I'd like to think there's a good chance of a slightly unpredictable race this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton: I love the Monaco circuit – it's the greatest track in Formula 1. My victory there in 2008 is still probably my best win in Formula 1 and one of the greatest moments in my career. It was an incredible day. In 2008, it was wet and, looking at the week ahead, the weather also looks extremely unpredictable, with heavy rain forecast for much of the week. Even if it doesn't rain on the Sunday, the possibility of heavily disrupted practice and qualifying sessions means that we'll probably go into the race with a chance of one of the most exciting and unpredictable Monaco Grands Prix for many years.
That would be fantastic because, with just a single stop in the race for tyres, there's going to be less opportunity for strategy to play a role in deciding the outcome, unless it rains of course. That means qualifying will be more important than ever: while we're still working hard to improve our qualifying pace, I think that Monaco is a place where the input of the driver is more important than at any other track, so I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to do a good job. In addition, I'll also be wearing a specially painted helmet for the occasion. When you see it, you'll know why I'll be hoping for it to swing the odds in my favour.
Martin Whitmarsh, team principal: You don't need me to tell you that our record around Monte Carlo has been exemplary – McLaren has won the race 15 times, including a six-year lock-out between 1988 and 1993. It's a race where we love to compete and where we have produced some fantastic performances over the years.
For 2010, we are under no illusions that it will be a challenge to add to our tally: we have not typically been able to demonstrate our ultimate pace in qualifying and the MP4-25 is not a car that we feel is best suited to slower, tighter tracks with short, slow-speed corners. Having said that, I know full well that the team always seems to produce something special for the race and in Jenson and Lewis, we not only have two street circuit specialists, but also the last two Monaco Grand Prix winners, which is a very significant string to our bow.
I know that both Jenson and Lewis are looking to win in Monaco and both feel very confident about their chances. It would be a fantastic achievement for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes if we were able to score a third victory in Monaco in just the fourth year of our partnership.