McLaren hail timing of Monaco victory

McLaren have admitted that Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Monaco Grand Prix was vital for their world championship ambitions

Although the team played down the need to win at Monte Carlo in the build-up to the race, it was clear that if Ferrari had a clear advantage on the tight, twisty circuit then it would suggest the F2008 was a better car on all types of circuits.

However, as well as Hamilton's victory moving the British driver to the head of the points' standings, McLaren's return to the top step of the podium provided a huge psychological boost to the outfit.

When asked if this win was important, McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: "Yes, it was. We're six races in, and we've got to make sure that we're stamping some authority on these races, so this was fantastic.

"For all the drivers and the team, there is still something very special about winning in Monaco, and the timing of it was also important."

With the Monaco victory showing that the fight between McLaren and Ferrari is finely poised, Whitmarsh is adamant the key to the crown now is how well either team can develop their cars.

"We're leading the drivers' championship now, which is the one that we want, and we always believed that we could anyway," he explained. "We've been saying for some time that the race now is who can develop their car at the fastest rate.

"We're not discounting BMW, they're still strong, they're doing a competent job, but Ferrari are going to continue to improve, we're going to continue to improve, and if we can improve at a faster rate then hopefully we can win the championship.

"Next we're going to Canada, we've been quite good there in the past - it was Lewis's first win last year obviously, and I'm sure he'll be looking to repeat it. So he's got a bit of momentum.

"I think he's in great shape, and he felt on Saturday, despite our initial disappointment at not being on pole, he still believed that he could win this race. Which turned out to be the case."

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