World Champion Lewis Hamilton is upbeat that he has a "fighting chance" of a decent result in Monaco this weekend after an encouraging first day of practice for Formula 1's most prestigious event.
Hamilton ended the first day of action for the Monaco Grand Prix second on the time sheets behind pacesetter Nico Rosberg, with his McLaren's deficiencies not too much of a handicap around the tight and twisty track. And clearly in a more upbeat mood than he was in Spain two weeks ago, Hamilton said he was looking for a good result.
"It definitely gives me a much better fighting chance for this weekend in terms of getting the car a bit further up – but the others looks very strong," said Hamilton. "We just have to try and do the best job we can, and bit by bit we get a little bit quicker. But we have to see what the others are doing."
Hamilton reckons his car's lack of downforce was still hurting him on the track's faster corners, but thought that there were sections of the circuit where the McLaren was better than some rivals.
"My mechanical grip is quite good. It is very bumpy here and it is still very, very hard work and I do struggle in the high speed corners. In Turn 3 and Turn 12/13/14 – the high-speed corners – I am probably losing two or three tenths through all those corners," he said.
"I am doing everything I can to catch it up a little bit but we just don't have it in the car. On the other areas we are able to do a bit better than the others. Fingers crossed that gives us a better fighting chance."
And although he was near the top of the time sheets in practice, Hamilton was cautious about his chances of being able to outqualify the championship-leading Brawn GP cars.
"From today's results, I definitely feel Q3 should be possible this weekend rather than how it was in Barcelona, and when we get there we have to see how we do," he said. "Here the most important thing is to be as close to the front as possible, if not on the front row. But to beat the Brawns again will be tough."
Hamilton also said he was relishing driving on the streets of Monaco – 12 months on from his victory.
"Driving Monaco is a spectacular thing," he said. "You can never compare it to any other circuit you go to, or any other experience. It really is such a huge buzz, it feels amazing."