Buoyed Hamilton looks to make a difference in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren can increase the pressure on Red Bull at next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Having finished only half a second behind Red Bull's race winner Sebastian Vettel in Barcelona, Hamilton said: We have something good coming for Monaco."

He continued: "I didn't expect to be that quick today, we were quicker than the Red Bulls except in the high-speed corners, pretty much.

"It's positive going into Monaco, where the driver can make a difference."

The 2008 world champion believes changes made to race rules this season, which have created more overtaking opportunities, will continue to have an effect on the streets of Monte Carlo.

"I think we'll see a different race from previous years," he added.

"I think a combination of the drag-reduction system (DRS), [energy-boost system] Kers Hybrid and the tyres will really make the racing come alive, and I'd love to see some overtaking action and some hard racing this year.

"I think the DRS zone at Monaco is only around 300m, so it's pretty short, and not really long enough to enable us to really get enough of a launch on the car ahead.

"The tyres will probably give us the greatest scope for excitement and the best chance of passing.

"While I don't think the super-soft and soft tyre compounds will be as critical around Monaco as they were at a place like Turkey, I still think the drop-off we encounter as the tyres go off should create opportunities for overtaking."

Hamilton was clearly encouraged at being able to hustle Vettel to the very end of the race in Spain.

"A few more laps and you might have seen a different result," said Hamilton, who is the only other man to win a race this season.

"It was very difficult to balance how many laps you had left and how much life you had left in the tyres, and pushing behind him, he was in clean air and I was in rough air, and the car was sliding so much. Nonetheless we did a great job."

Jenson Button, who recovered from what he himself described as a "disastrous" start to finish third for McLaren, said tyre wear was likely to be a huge factor in Monaco.

"I don't think you are going to be having fights like we had [here]," he said.

"There is a going to be a lot of tyre degradation as we have got the super soft and the soft tyres there, so it is going to be very tricky for all of us. It will make it fun for sure."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the fact both Hamilton and Button have won at Monaco added to the team's chances of success in the principality.

"We've seen both Lewis and Jenson do great jobs there, they love Monaco, we've won it 14 times and we'd like to do it again," he said.

However he said the race would not necessarily be a duel between McLaren and Red Bull.

"Don't underestimate the others, Fernando [Alonso] did a fantastic qualifying lap yesterday, he can pull those sorts of things out.

"At the moment I think we've got some pace on them [Ferrari], but they can improve very quickly and so can Mercedes.

Asked to explain why McLaren's pace was so much closer to Red Bull in the race than in qualifying, Whitmarsh said: "Red Bull do a number of things to set their car up for qualifying that make it very quick.

"We are working on some of those areas, but we work quite hard to make sure we have a good race pace. You need that. But ultimately you need a better track position.

"We had the race pace today. We didn't have track position. We didn't qualify well enough. So we have to work on that and get the job done in qualifying.

"We've certainly put half a second on the car but we need another few half seconds.

"Monaco is a very different type of track. We have super-soft tyres coming and have very limited experience of those."

Mark Webber won from pole in Monaco last year while Vettel has a first win around the famous circuit in his sights.

And Red Bull boss Christian Horner is predicting that race strategy will once again likely to be the key to success in seven days' time.

"We took a bold decision today and it paid off, but I don't think that will work in Monaco," said Horner.

"It's going to be all about tyre management again. It's less abrasive than here. It's going to be fascinating.

"With Sebastian we went for an extremely aggressive undercut that relied on him making the passes. Are you going to have the bravery to do that in Monaco, where overtaking is generally impossible?

"The encouraging thing for us is that at five circuits with very differing characteristics we have managed to be competitive at all of them and hopefully we will carry that into Monaco."

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