Lewis Hamilton eyes push for Monaco GP victory
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Monaco
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is prepared to take risks to capture his first win of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton won in Monte Carlo en route to the 2008 title but ruined his chances in 2009 after a crash in qualifying.
"It's in my nature to take more risks than others," said Hamilton. "You have to have serious guts to try and pick up speed here.
"This is the place to win. It would hopefully be the beginning of something very special this year."
Hamilton admitted he made a mistake during qualifying for last year's race in Monaco when he crashed at Mirabeau's hairpin.
But the 25-year-old has no intention of curbing his aggressive driving style around the challenging street circuit this weekend.
"Maybe I'm more aggressive than others sometimes," added Hamilton. "If someone goes a little bit quicker then I know I have to pick up speed.
"When I say aggression, I mean it in a balanced way, it's not get out there, attack and everyone get out of my way, and I'm able to control it.
"I love being at this circuit, it's just a fantastic season and the car feels so much better than last year.
"I'm not going to put any pressure on and say we have to win this weekend. It will come eventually.
"My performances have been pretty good this year so far and so I'm just going to continue to build on that and eventually I've got to get to the top."
Hamilton is fourth in this year's title chase, 21 points adrift of his team-mate and championship leader Jenson Button.
Less than a second covered the top 10 drivers in both practices sessions in Monaco and Hamilton is expecting the fight for pole to be much tighter than it was last weekend in Barcelona when he was 0.8 seconds adrift of Mark Webber's leading Red Bull in third.
"Everyone is quite competitive and Saturday is going to be tough," Hamilton reflected.
"You never know what the Red Bulls are doing and somehow in Q3 they seem to pull out a huge chunk of time.
"I don't know how well they're going to do but I know that we're competitive and I think we can compete with the top cars.
"We seem to be quite close, it's a couple of tenths, and I hope that stays the same as that means it'll be a real challenge in qualifying."
Hamilton, Button, Fernando Alonso and five-time winner Michael Schumacher are the only drivers in the field to have taken the chequered flag at Monaco.
And Alonso laid down his marker to his main rivals by topping both practice sessions on Thursday for Ferrari.
Some minor tweaks and set-up changes to suit the street circuit's slower corners have helped Alonso eke some extra performance out of the car - and get him get back into the groove.
"This is a circuit to gain confidence as soon as possible, to feel OK in the car and to maximise the potential," stated Alonso, who is second in the driver standings.
"You don't need to go crazy, to change set-up and find miracles for Saturday. You just need some continuity in the set-up and then to do the runs.
"Some of the changes to the car we know there is not much performance as you can measure the performance in half a tenth of a second but in terms of confidence for the driver, you can measure it in two or three tenths.
"We did improve a little bit compared to Barcelona. Hopefully we are not one second behind Red Bull but we will have to wait until Saturday.
"We've seen some strong Fridays for us and for McLaren and then on Saturday Red Bull got the pole position very easily so we need to be clever and do a good lap on Saturday."