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Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 09:15 UK

Hamilton cautious on Monaco hopes

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton says the Monaco Grand Prix is his favourite race

Lewis Hamilton is expecting a tight battle with Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix on 25 May despite McLaren's strength at the Monte Carlo circuit.

Hamilton, who is seven points behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the title race, completed a McLaren one-two behind Fernando Alonso last season.

"I don't think we will have the dominance we had last year because the teams are much closer," said Hamilton.

"I think we can put together a better package, but it will be closer."

Hamilton is out to end Ferrari's four-race winning streak at the demanding race through the streets of Monte Carlo and win at his favourite circuit for the first time.

The Briton boosted his title challenge with second place at last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, but is uncertain whether McLaren's will retain their edge in Monaco.

"Monaco is the dream Grand Prix to win, the most important race to win personally," said Hamilton.

"If I feel I can win anywhere, it is definitely Monaco, but you have to be in the right place at the right time.

"And it is difficult to know exactly how we will do at Monaco because there are so many differences to Istanbul."

McLaren raced to first and second place in Monaco last season as Alonso and Hamilton were in a race of their own at the front of the field.

Hamilton came close to overhauling the Spaniard in the latter half of the race and McLaren later admitted they had asked Hamilton not to challenge his team-mate for victory.

But the Briton is not expecting team orders to come into play at this year's race despite his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen showing glimpses of superior pace.

Kovalainen started last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix on the front row of the grid, ahead of Hamilton, and could have beaten eventual winner Felipe Massa had he not suffered a puncture in a collision with Raikkonen at the first corner.

Heading into Monaco, Hamilton has a 14-point advantage over Kovalainen but does not want the team to show him any favouritism.

"It would not be right for the team to push me ahead of him," said the 23-year-old.

"If I am not winning then I wish he was and it is the same feeling vice-versa, so I want it to continue as it is, fair and square.

"We are a team and I felt sorry for him that he was not able to compete in Turkey. I have no doubts he will be up at the front next time out."

see also
Hamilton thrilled by 'best race'
11 May 08 |  Formula One
Massa holds off Hamilton for win
11 May 08 |  Formula One
Kovalainen escapes 150mph crash
28 Apr 08 |  Formula One
McLaren must improve - Hamilton
28 Apr 08 |  Formula One
McLaren cleared over Hamilton row
30 May 07 |  Formula One
McLaren deny anti-Hamilton bias
27 May 07 |  Formula One
Alonso helped to Monaco victory
27 May 07 |  Formula One

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