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Old 14-05-2010, 17:08  Translate from English to Italian  Translate from English to French  Translate from English to German  Translate from English to Spanish  Translate from English to Dutch  Translate from English to Greek  Translate from English to Portuguese  Translate from English to Russian  Translate from English to Russian
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HAMILTON REFUSES TO FEEL DEFLATED

Lewis Hamilton has vowed to keep fighting after being "absolutely blown away" by his latest tyre failure.

Hamilton was coasting to second behind pole-to-flag winner Mark Webber in the Spanish Grand Prix when, on the penultimate lap, he suffered a suspected left-front tyre rim failure that caused a puncture.

Hamilton's McLaren was immediately pitched into the gravel and on into a tyre barrier from which he fortunately emerged unscathed.

The 25-year-old was robbed of 18 precious points, and instead of heading to next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix a point behind championship leader and team-mate Jenson Button, he is 21 adrift.

As Hamilton has discovered to his cost in the past, Formula One can be a cruel sport.

In qualifying for the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring a puncture led to Hamilton hurtling into a tyre wall at 180mph, and then at that year's Turkish Grand Prix another puncture relegated him to fifth.

"It was a similar feeling to what happened at the Nurburgring," said Hamilton.

"This is my third or fourth tyre blow out in my career. More than most people have in their whole lifetime.

"There was no warning, the car felt great, so it was a surprise and a very disappointing end to the race.

"Up until that point it was pretty positive. I was just cruising to the finish line and heading for some great points.

"It was looking like a great job for us, but then it's never over until its over.

"Eighteen points and I'd have been right back in the championship battle, but as it is, I'm a little bit further back now.

"So I'm absolutely blown away that something happened on the last two laps of the race, but that's motor racing.

"You just have to keep your chin up and look forward."

Admitting the incident was "a reality check", Hamilton also adopted a philosophical outlook, appreciating these are still early days in the title race with another 14 grands prix to come.

"The team did an incredible job," added Hamilton.

"It was great to come here and make such a good step forward, and second would have been perfect for the team in the constructors' and drivers' championships.

"But there are many more races to go, so the guys shouldn't be hard on themselves because we can still fight for the championship."

Assessing his prospects for next weekend's race in Monaco, Hamilton said: "To split the Red Bulls was a real positive step for us.

"Going into the next race we will be very close to them and I hope I can challenge for a win."

It was also a bitterly frustrating day for world champion Button as he started fifth, but dropped to sixth after his pit stop due to a delay sparked by his clutch dragging, resulting in wheel spin and his crew unable to fit his rear tyres.

The 30-year-old then emerged behind Michael Schumacher, and despite a number of attempts to pass the 41-year-old in his Mercedes into turn one, Button never managed to make a move stick.

"As everyone knows, it's almost impossible to overtake around here, and Michael was moving about a bit to make sure I couldn't get past," said Button.

"That was frustrating because the pace of my car was really good, but that doesn't make any difference if you can't overtake.

"I was trying so hard to get past that I damaged my tyres quite a bit.

"Fifth wasn't the result we wanted, and it wasn't the result we really deserved either because we were pretty quick.

"I guess you could say that was both a positive and a negative because I couldn't get to use that pace fully today."






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McLAREN TO INVESTIGATE TYRE DRAMA

McLaren will today launch an investigation into the penultimate-lap drama that robbed Lewis Hamilton of 18 valuable points in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was poised for second place at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya after driving a faultless race until a suspected left- front tyre rim failure plunged the 25-year-old into a tyre wall.

It means Hamilton now heads into Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix 21 points adrift of team-mate Jenson Button when he might otherwise have been only a point down.

"For Lewis, it was just one of those days," said team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"He drove brilliantly, an impressively disciplined yet excitingly combative performance.

"He posted the fastest lap of the race on his way to what would have been a richly deserved second place had he not been forced to retire within spitting distance of the chequered flag.

"The parts will now be meticulously analysed back at the McLaren Technology Centre.

"Until we've done that we won't be able to make any definitive statements about what we think it was that caused the problem."

It is not the first time Hamilton has suffered tyre issues as he hurtled into a tyre barrier at 175mph in qualifying for the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Several weeks later another puncture dropped Hamilton to fifth at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.

After yesterday's race the 2008 world champion admitted to being "absolutely blown away" by this latest problem, but has vowed to keep fighting.

"This is my third or fourth tyre blow out in my career. More than most people have in their whole lifetime," said Hamilton.

"There was no warning, the car felt great, so it was a surprise and a very disappointing end to the race.

"Up until that point it was pretty positive. I was just cruising to the finish line and heading for some great points.

"It was looking like a great job for us, but then it's never over until its over.

"Eighteen points and I'd have been right back in the championship battle, but as it is, I'm a little bit further back now.

"So I'm absolutely blown away that something happened on the last two laps of the race, but that's motor racing.

"You just have to keep your chin up and look forward."

Whitmarsh echoed Hamilton's sentiments, appreciating McLaren are still in a very strong position in both championships despite a lights-to-flag victory for Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber.

"Naturally enough, all of us at McLaren feel a little disappointed to have lost 18 world championship points at the 11th hour," added Whitmarsh.

"But there are nonetheless a lot of positives we can take from the weekend.

"We showed strong race pace, we're still leading both the drivers' and constructors' championships, and the next grand prix is at Monaco.

"McLaren has won that race no fewer than 15 times, significantly more than any other team in Formula One history.

"We'll be racing on the famous streets of the principality in a few days' time, and you can be sure we'll be doing everything in our power to add to our win tally there."






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Old 14-05-2010, 17:09  Translate from English to Italian  Translate from English to French  Translate from English to German  Translate from English to Spanish  Translate from English to Dutch  Translate from English to Greek  Translate from English to Portuguese  Translate from English to Russian  Translate from English to Russian
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SPANISH GP: LAP-BY-LAP REPORT


FINISH: Please join us again next weekend for the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place in Monte Carlo

FINISH: Well that's it from Barcelona. Well done to Red Bull, another great race for the team

FINISH: Michael Schumacher is fourth for Merc GP ahead of Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica

FINISH: Fernando Alonso finishes second with Sebastian Vettel completing the podium

FINISH: Mark Webber claimed the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix victory! Well done Mark

Lap 66: Webber is on his last lap - and is heading for his first win of the season

Lap 65: And Hamilton is out of the grand prix. Front left puncture through Turn 3 sent him sidewards into the barrier and out of the race

Lap 64: Webber is now just 12s up on Hamilton and cruising to the finishing line

Lap 63: Schumacher looks to have fifth in the bag as he is three seconds up on Button

Lap 62: Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock are the last two runners still in the grand prix. But they are three and four laps down respectively

Lap 61: Webber has lapped everyone up to and including Barrichello in 10th place

SKYBET: New Championship Odds Skybet : Vettel 7/4, Hamilton 5/2, Alonso 3/1, Webber 6/1, Button 15/2. If it stays this way, Button leads the championship on 68pts by just a point from Lewis (67). 17points will separate the top 6

Lap 60: Kubica is chasing Sutil for eighth place while Rosberg is now all over the back of Liuzzi

Lap 59: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap time

Lap 58: Despite concerns, Vettel is still in the race and in fourth place

Lap 57: Red Bull have cleared a place in the garage as they fear Vettel could be out of it shortly

Lap 56: So it now looks as if Spain will have a Spaniard on the podium

Lap 55: Vettel is in the pits. He appears to be having tyre problems and has to pit for new rubber. He comes out behind Alonso

SKYBET: Mark Webber was 16/1 to complete a Race Hat-trick (Race Win, Pole, Fastest Lap) before Saturday's qualifying session

Lap 54: Webber leads by more than 15s over Hamilton and one has to say, barring a aliens landing on top of his car, the Aussie will claim this win

Lap 53: And yet Button is still stuck behind Schumacher!

SKYBET: It's now 1/20 that Webber extends the amazing Pole Position record at Barcelona. If he wins now, it will be the 13th time in 14 years that Pole has won this race!

Lap 52: Rosberg finally overtakes Hulkenberg with a great inside/outside move

Lap 51: Rosberg looks up the inside of Hulkenberg, but the Williams driver is showing no sign of cracking under the pressure

Lap 50: Webber is 16.3s clear at the front of the pack

Lap 49: Closest battle in the race is between Hulkenberg and Rosberg, who are fighting over 15th place

Lap 48: 19 runners still in the race after Buemi, Chandhok, de la Rosa and Senna retired while Kovalainen failed to start

Lap 47: Sutil and Kubica are holding station in eighth and ninth places while Barrichello is P10

Lap 46: Buemi has retired! His fourth trip into the pits and this time he stays there

Lap 45: Webber is quickest again

Lap 44: This is the same problem Button has been having since he found himself behind Schumacher after the pit stops. Just cos you can catch, doesn't mean you can pass!

Lap 43: Rosberg is all over Hulkenberg, quite a bit quicker and yet still cannot pass him. Oy vey!

Lap 42: And Alonso is a tenth quicker again

Lap 41: Alonso surpass Webber's best, clocking a 1:25.868

Lap 41: Rosberg, though, sets a fastest final sector time on his fresh rubber. Wonder if Ferrari are paying attention

Lap 40: Another new fastest lap from Webber. Where is he finding this pace from? Unbelievable

Lap 39: It's still Webber at the front, 11s up on Hamilton with Vettel and Alonso behind

Lap 38: Rosberg puts on new soft tyres, he was 15th before pitting so it's a good gamble as it gives Merc info on whether or not they should pit Schumacher

Lap 37: Ferrari have informed Alonso that he may have to pit again as he is 23s ahead of Schumacher, so it wouldn't hurt and would give him a better chance to catch Vettel

Lap 36: Schumacher does a personal best to put a second between himself and Button

Lap 35: Alguersuari has been handed a drive-through penalty for his incident with Chandhok. The stewards deemed him to have closed the door on the HRT driver

Lap 34: Hulkenberg pits, allowing Petrov to put his foot down and try to build a lead up over Kobayashi

Lap 33: They are behind Hulkenberg and looking for a way by the Williams driver

Lap 32: Petrov and Kobayashi are having a great battle, which the Renault driver is winning at the moment

Lap 31: Webber did a 1:26.469 on the previous lap as once again he extended his lead at the front

Lap 30: Chandhok retires due to damage from earlier incident

SKYBET: Webber into 1/8 with Skybet as he hopes to close out an incident free race, while Hamilton can be backed at 7/1 and Vettel, chasing hard, is 9/1. Its 50/1 BAR

Lap 29: Chandhok pits for new front wing after driving into the back of Alguersuari, who had just lapped him

Lap 28: Webber goes quicker still! Unbelievable pace from the Aussie

Lap 27: Massa is told by his team that his wing is broken but as his lap times are okay and isn't feeling any adverse effects he should just stay out for now

Lap 26: Button sniffs up the inside of Schumacher at the end of the main straight but just isn't close enough to pull off a move

Lap 25: The train behind Schumacher encounters traffic in the form of Chandhok, who Massa taps. It looks as if he has some damage to his front wing, which he confirms to his team

Lap 25: Webber is flying! The Aussie is looking supreme around the Barcelona circuit and extends his lead to 9.9s

Lap 24: Buemi takes his penalty

Lap 23: Drive-through penalty for Buemi for an unsafe return to the track

Lap 22: Button is again harassing Schumacher. But again, the German won't let him by and is fighting tooth and nail to hold onto fifth place

Lap 21: Webber does a new fastest lap, a 1:27.099. And de la Rosa does retire

Lap 21: De la Rosa has pitted and doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon

Lap 20: So after the first round of stops, Webber is leading by 8.8s over Hamilton, Vettel is third, a further 1.3s back, followed by Alonso, Schumacher and Button

Lap 20: Button is all over the back of Schumacher but the willy German isn't willing to just move aside and Button has to yield

Lap 19: Hamilton gets out of the pits just ahead of Vettel and they come across a backmarker, which means Hamilton has to swing out, forcing Vettel off the track. Hamilton takes and keeps the position, so he too has made up one in the pit stops

Lap 19: Trulli and Buemi are under investigation from the stewards

Lap 18: Webber pits and so too does Hamilton

Lap 18: Problems for Button, who has a slow stop and comes out on track behind Schumacher. So the German has gained a position

Lap 17: Alonso pits from fourth place as does Button, Alguersuari, Kubica, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi

Lap 16: Rosberg emerges down in 17th place

Lap 15: Problems for Rosberg. He comes into the pits, was given the signal to go but his one tyre, front right, appeared to be on fire from the hot brakes. He had to be pushed back onto his pit box and finally got back out into the race

Lap 15: Schumacher pits from sixth and Massa from seventh. Schumi gets out ahead of the Brazilian and returns to the race behind Barrichello

Lap 14: Petrov pits from 15th place and Webber is once again fastest of all with a 1:27.357

Lap 14: Now Buemi passes Trulli but meets Liuzzi as he exits the pits, sending Buemi running wide. He manages to get back on the track ahead of Trulli

Lap 13: Oh yes! Another passing move. This time it's Buemi who powers his way by Glock while Liuzzi comes into the pits

Lap 12: Another fastest lap from Webber, and that's about the entire sum of the excitement at present

Lap 11: Alonso does a personal best as he tries to pull away from Button

Lap 10: Webber, Vettel and Hamilton are the only drivers lapping in the 1:27s, while Alonso to Massa are in the 1:28s

Lap 9: Webber is slowly but surely pulling away from Vettel, increasing the gap to over two seconds

Lap 8: However, the best battle on track at present is Kubica chasing down Jaime Alguersuari for ninth place

Lap 7: Button is less than a second behind Alonso with Schumacher 2.3s further back

Lap 6: And we have a genuine overtaking move as Petrov gets ahead of Trulli for 16th place

Lap 6: Massa is told he is quicker than Schumacher ahead of him and should be able to take him, he just needs to move

Lap 5: Huge cheers from the grandstands whenever Alonso passes by. He is currently P4, 4.2s behind Webber

Lap 4: The Red Bulls are two seconds up on Hamilton

Lap 3: A 1:28.074 for Webber as he tries to build a lead over Vettel at the front

Lap 3: Buemi has pitted for a new front wing, which was damaged on de la Rosa left rear tyre. He is down in 21st place, one position in front of the Spaniard

Lap 2: Bruno Senna is out the race, stopping somewhere in sector three

Lap 2: Awful start for Kobayashi, he's down in 16th place. De la Rosa pits for fresh rubber after his first set were damaged in a minor coming together with Buemi

Lap 1: And it's a clean first lap from everyone - well that makes a change

Lap 1: Webber gets off clean and Vettel slots in behind him, Hamilton is third, Alonso fourth, Button, Schumacher, Massa and Sutil

START: And we are go at Barcelona!

13h04: The grid reforms and we are ready for the start of the 2010 Spanish GP

13h02: The drivers get away without any problems as make around the track, weaving in a bid to bring tyres up to temperature and keep them there

13h00: Formation lap is underway, sans Kovalainen

12h59: Problems for Kovalainen, who is being pushed into the pit lane by his mechanics

12h59: The grid is cleared of all personnel

12h55: The drivers are climbing into their cars, getting ready for the formation lap

12h51: Ross Brawn is having a quick chat with Charlie Whiting on the grid before the FIA race director moves on

12h45: Pit lane is now closed

12h39: Schumacher has arrived on the grid. Is this the day that the German finally proves he is back and finishes onthe podium?

12h35: Alonso ventures out but heads back into the pits so that he can do two laps

12h33: The track temperature is 33'C, with a warm 21' ambient. There is also a strong breeze blowing

SKYBET: Where is the Skybet Blimp when you need it? This race hinges solely on the weather today. If it stays dry, whoever gets ahead in the opening lap should have a fantastic shot at victory, Webber is 5/4, and Vettel at 11/8. Should the rains open, its anyone's game, and Jenson Button has proved popular - he's now 16/1, Hamilton is 6/1 and Alonso can be backed at Skybet at 10/1 ahead of the race.

12h30: Pit lane is open for the drivers to make their way to the grid

12h22: Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi completed the top ten ahead of Adrian Sutil and Pedro de la Rosa

12h20: Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher make up the third row after the German finally got one over on his team-mate Nico Rosberg. The younger Merc driver qualified P8, putting him next to Robert Kubica on the grid

12h11: Hamilton is lining up alongside arch rival and home-town favourite Fernando Alonso, who is using Ferrari's f-duct for the first time this weekend

12h05: The Red Bull racers are on the front row of the grid, their third lock-out this season. Mark Webber starting ahead of Sebastian Vettel and unless it does rain, that is expected to remain as such... it's only a case of which of the two wins as Red Bull were far superior in qualifying yesterday, almost a full second up third placed Lewis Hamilton

12h02: There are a few clouds overhead but no sign of the rain that was causing some drivers a few headaches - and that some were wishing for. But who knows, it could all change

12h00: Welcome to coverage of the Spanish GP, round five of the 2010 F1 World Championship







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HAMILTON FEARS MONACO DISASTER

Lewis Hamilton's love for the Monaco Grand Prix could be tested this weekend as he fears "a disaster" could be looming on the horizon.

Hamilton will start as one of the favourites to repeat his 2008 triumph and rekindle his title hopes after a suspected tyre rim failure cost him second place in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Instead of heading into the famous race around the principality a point behind McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Hamilton will start 21 points adrift and eager to forget what transpired on the penultimate lap at the Circuit de Catalunya.

But Monaco this year promises to be a very different proposition as there are 24 cars on the grid, with the six newcomers from Virgin, Lotus and Hispania Racing considerably slower.

Around Monaco's twisty, narrow streets, there will be an unknown element to qualifying and the race, even more so if it is wet, as is currently being forecast.

For qualifying, plans to split the initial 20-minute session have been quashed, which means it will be a lottery for all concerned, while backmarkers in the race will also prove a problem.

"It could be a disaster," Hamilton said.

"I lapped (Virgin's Lucas) di Grassi four times yesterday. That's one of the biggest gaps I've had in Formula One."

Asked if the slower cars could screw up his plans this weekend, Hamilton replied: "I don't know about 'screw', but it's just very difficult when there is such a big difference.

"You catch them so quick, it's just unreal. When you see them you are wondering where they will move out of the way, and then they move into the wrong position.

"They'll go on the inside and be in the corner as you come up to them, so it gets quite tricky.

"So far, fortunately, there have been no incidents and it's been okay, but Monaco will be very tough."

Hamilton just avoided a crash into the back of Di Grassi on Sunday as he diced with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel after emerging back onto the track following his pit stop.

"I still had so much work to do," added Hamilton.

"The backmarker didn't do a very spectacular job. I don't know what the hell he was doing there.

"It wasn't very safe. I had to go left, Vettel was going right, and it looked worse than it was."

If Hamilton manages to escape any incidents around Monaco, he feels he has a car to again win Formula One's blue riband event.

"I feel I did a very good job considering we didn't have the fastest car," Hamilton said of yesterday's race.

"To be as consistent as I was, I didn't make any mistakes and I'm really very happy with my performance.

"Even though you didn't see me do any overtaking, I feel it was one of my best performances because I feel I improved, and I was really controlled.

"So I feel I've a great chance at Monaco this year. We've a strong car and I love the place.

"I've had quite good results there in the past, and I feel the car now is the best I've had during my time at the team.

"We should be competitive, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be challenging the Red Bulls there.

"Whether or not we'll see a gap of one second between us and them, who knows, but it's going to be very tricky again.

"A driver can have bit more of an impact on his overall time there.

"Hopefully the weather holds up for us, but if it rains, that will make it exciting."

Hamilton will at least be eager to avoid what unfolded last year when he put his car in the barrier in qualifying when he knew he had a shot at victory, despite the woeful nature of the McLaren at the time,

"I don't remember it," joked Hamilton.

He then added: "Somehow, even though I had a terrible car, I had a chance to be in the top four, and I was just unfortunate.

"I was always on the ragged edge, and being on the ragged edge there with a bad car is hard work.

"I locked up the rears and put it in the wall. These things happen."




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HORNER: TEAMWORK KEY TO QUALIFYING

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner feels flexibility will be the name of the game in Monaco qualifying this weekend.

Plans to split the initial 20-minute session around the streets of Monte-Carlo have been quashed, which means there may be all 24 cars on track at the same time struggling to get in a clean lap.

Many drivers have expressed concern about the chaos that could ensue given how slow Formula One newcomers Virgin, Lotus and Hispania Racing have proven to be.

It has been worked out if every car is on the two-mile track, which takes 75 seconds to lap, each one would be just three seconds apart.

Asked if Red Bull would be first out of the garage on Saturday at the start of qualifying to ensure track position, Horner joked: "I think we'll be camped down there on Friday night!"

Horner concedes the first qualifying period is "the most worrying aspect", and added: "It's about getting a lap that is sufficiently clear to post a time to get through.

"Unfortunately, in terms of statistics, there will be a car every 140 metres if they all run, and there's obviously a big difference in pace between the cars.

"The worst thing will be when you come round into Rascasse every lap and there is a queue of five cars.

"One way of looking at it is maybe you run for the full 20 minutes in the hope of getting a clear run.

"Or you pick your gap when the slower teams have pitted, so making sure you get in the one lap you need.

"Flexibility is going to be the key because theoretically the top teams only have to beat one other quick car to get through to Q2.

"But then if you look back 15 years ago we had around 26 cars for qualifying.

"So it's a matter of working with the pit crew, the engineers, to find a bit of track space and get one clear lap. That's all we need."

After Mark Webber's dominant display in Barcelona, Horner feels Red Bull are ready to prove they can now master Monaco, a track where six of their 10 cars in their five races at the venue have retired.

With the team's best result third with David Coulthard in 2006, Horner said: "It's a race we are determined to do well at.

"It's a circuit where we weren't particularly strong last year, but we feel we've improved the car in a lot of areas compared to last year, and we believe we can be very strong in Monaco."




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BUTTON HOPES TO STAY IN RUNNING

Jenson Button will never forget the day he apologised to Prince Albert of Monaco after the greatest run of his life.

That was just under a year ago following one of the highlights of his motor-racing career when the Monaco resident scored his first triumph around the streets of the principality where he lives.

After conducting his victory lap, Button parked his Brawn GP in parc ferme, the customary holding area for cars after a race.

But in Monaco, the top three are meant to drive up to the finish line where the podium ceremony is conducted, leading to one of those priceless Formula One moments.

Taking up the story, Button said: "After winning last year, I actually parked in the wrong place and had to run about 300 metres down the start-finish straight to get to the podium.

"A little bit embarrassing, you could say, but also the best 300-metre run of my life because all the teams were hanging over the pit wall clapping me in.

"The grandstand erupted when I went past and it was just such an emotional moment, a moment I will never forget.

"One, because it's on YouTube; two, because it's going to stay in my mind forever, running up to Prince Albert of Monaco and saying, 'I'm sorry I parked in the wrong place'."

The win enabled Button to go on and become world champion, but at the time, it was all a surreal experience for the 30-year-old.

"As Prince Albert handed me the trophy and I lifted it above my head, it really dawned on me what I had achieved," added Button.

"To hammer a car around the Monaco circuit, in between those walls, the Armco barriers, it's like driving a go-kart around your living room.

"Every lap throughout the race gets more and more difficult because the barriers seem to get closer and closer. Mentally it is so, so draining.

"So the relief, and the feeling when I got onto the podium and I lifted that trophy above me was very special.

"There was so much cheering, but everything became so silent in my mind and in my head when I could see the mechanics, it was like I had pushed the mute button."

Asked if he had his running shoes this year, he replied: "Running shoes? Well, I sort of know where to go now."

With his own apartment a short walk away from Loews hairpin, and even though he knows the place like the back of his hand, Monaco will always be "a special race" for the McLaren driver.

"I think every driver will agree with me that it's the first race you would love to win in a Formula One car," added Button, who has a three-point lead going into the sixth round of the championship.

"Winning last year was one of the highlights of my season, and also of my entire racing career.

"It's a race you grow up watching, so you know the circuit, every corner, by heart before you've ever driven there.

"It's a race every young driver dreams of winning, and I love the place.

"Even though I've been racing there for many years, the sensation of speed you experience when you first drive a Formula One car out of the pits and up the hill is something you can never fully anticipate.

"The acceleration is incredible, and the walls are so, so close."

Whether back-to-back victories can be achieved is another matter, a feat no Briton has achieved since Graham Hill in 1968 and 1969.

"I think the result is extremely tough to call this year because there are a lot of very competitive drivers in the field," said Button.

"So I'd like to think there's a good chance of a slightly unpredictable race this weekend."




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Old 14-05-2010, 17:11  Translate from English to Italian  Translate from English to French  Translate from English to German  Translate from English to Spanish  Translate from English to Dutch  Translate from English to Greek  Translate from English to Portuguese  Translate from English to Russian  Translate from English to Russian
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ALONSO HAPPY TO BE IN THE HUNT

Fernando Alonso is convinced he can fight for the Formula One world title after emerging through the chaos of the opening five races.

Good fortune shone on Alonso to the delight of his fans in his home grand prix in Barcelona.

A brake problem for Sebastian Vettel and suspected tyre rim failure for Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly elevated the Ferrari star from fourth to second in the closing laps.

It was Alonso's best result since his season-opening victory in Bahrain, after which he encountered numerous problems.

Remarkably, going into this Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso is firmly back in the title hunt, trailing championship leader Jenson Button by just three points.

"The championship is long," said Alonso.

"There will be some circuits where we will be closer to Red Bull and some circuits like in Barcelona where we know it's going to be more difficult.

"But overall, for the remaining races, I think we have a package, a car that can fight for the world championship which is the main goal."

Alonso knows, though, consistency is critical and that he cannot afford to endure a rollercoaster ride for the remainder of the year.

"You need good results all the way through," added the 28-year-old.

"So far we have had two engine problems, one gearbox problem, one jumped start, some chaotic races, but we are only three points behind the leader, so we are happy.

"It's still very early in the championship, but better to be in the first three or four positions than eighth or ninth.

"But from now we need four or five podiums in a row. We cannot have one podium and then another three races with mistakes if we are to win the championship.

"But we understand that. We know the mistakes we have made at the beginning of the championship, which is why we arrived in Barcelona with a very good approach.

"We were a super Ferrari team over the weekend with no mistakes at all."

With Ferrari planning a solid period of upgrades over the next few weeks, Alonso is confident that will keep him in the hunt.

"There is a very aggressive plan of developing the car with some good gains and good improvements to come in the next races, so we are very optimistic on that," said Alonso.




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NO SORRY WORD FROM SCHUMACHER

Michael Schumacher refused to turn back the clock and utter a simple five-letter word seemingly missing from his vocabulary.

It was in qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix Schumacher committed one of his most infamous acts.

Duelling with Fernando Alonso for pole position, Schumacher made a ham-fisted attempt at staging an accident, stopping just short of a barrier.

Schumacher effectively parked his Ferrari at Rascasse, preventing the Spaniard, then with Renault, from taking the grid's top spot as he was following closely behind.

Although Schumacher denied at the time he was a cheat, the stewards saw otherwise and demoted the German to the back of the grid.

Returning to Monaco for the first time since that infamous weekend, the subject was naturally aired as Schumacher faced his inquisitors from the media.

Sitting just 200 metres away from Rascasse in Mercedes' brand new motorhome on view for the first time this season, Schumacher still steadfastly refused to say 'sorry' for his indiscretion.

Initially asked if he had any regrets, especially as the manoeuvre harmed his title chances at the time, Schumacher replied: "I guess it didn't."

That was reference to the fact he ultimately finished 13 points adrift of Alonso in the final standings.

Swerving the subject, he added: "It doesn't change things if we go back into it because we are here now in 2010."

After a question on a different subject, the following one returned to 2006, and again he was pressed if he had any regrets.

A further sidestep followed as he said: "I had great fun in the race, I have to say.

"Coming from last and going through the field, finishing fifth, that was good fun."

Refusing to let Schumacher off the hook, it was pointed out to him that day was one of the low points of his career.

"You made it," said Schumacher, referring to the media.

Laughing, he added: "Some of you guys. I mean let's look forward and not backwards."

To which a sharp interviewer responded: "Well let's look forward. If you had to get on pole here now, would you do again what you did in 2006?"

With a wink and a smile to his interrogator, Schumacher quipped: "You're boring!"

Appreciating the growing tension, the Mercedes PR then called for questions relating to the current year rather than 2006.

For a minute that was the case until one final attempt was made to extract a degree of regret from the 41-year-old as he was asked if there was any reason he was unable to say sorry.

With yet another swerve as deft as the one he pulled that day, he said: "I think you can keep trying, absolutely.

"But as I said before I am not in 2006 any more. I think there is enough said, and I don't feel I need to dig any deeper into it."

If proof were needed time does not appear to have mellowed the seven-times world champion and five-times winner of this famous race, then today was it.




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McLAREN AIM TO BE DIAMOND PLEASERS

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will be the kings of bling around Monaco this weekend.

One of McLaren's key sponsors in diamond specialists Steinmetz have again joined forces with the Woking-based team ahead of Sunday's 78-lap showdown around the streets of the principality.

In previous years McLaren's drivers have had their initials inlaid into their helmets with diamonds, but Steinmetz have opted for a different approach on this occasion.

To celebrate their recent victories in Monaco, Hamilton will have the numbers '08' and Button '09' adorning their steering wheels with diamonds.

"They look absolutely incredible and add a real bit of bling to the cars," said Hamilton.

"I won in 2008 wearing a Steinmetz diamond-studded helmet, so I'm hoping it will bring me luck again this year."

As for Button, he said: "Monaco is one of the most prestigious and important races on the calendar, a race I feel honoured to have won.

"To be racing for McLaren with a diamond-crested steering wheel, created especially for me, is a great honour."




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BRAWN EYEING MONACO REPEAT

Ross Brawn is hoping the unpredictability of Monaco will lead to another dream result on Sunday.

A year ago Brawn celebrated a momentous victory at a time when he was in charge of his own team, with Jenson Button leading the way around the streets of the principality.

It was one of the highlights of Brawn GP's double title-winning season, but a repeat for the man widely regarded as the most astute technical brain in the sport would appear to be a long shot.

Brawn is now in charge of Mercedes, but the German marque has failed to so far build on the momentum generated by the successes of last year.

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher has struggled on his return to F1 after three years in retirement, although achieved his best result of the season on Sunday with fourth in Spain.

Nico Rosberg had finished on the podium in the previous two races, but around Barcelona, the new-spec car was far from his liking and he lagged far behind in a woeful 13th.

Brawn, though, would like to think anything is possible as he said: "The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most challenging race weekends of the year.

"But everyone revels in the special atmosphere, and as engineers we love the unique demands and extra pressure the street circuit generates.

"The drivers play their role at Monaco perhaps more so than at any other track.

"Precision, consistency, speed and control are essential, and with Michael and Nico, we are fortunate to have two drivers who excel here.

"Together with Mercedes-Benz, we achieved the dream result of a one-two finish last year.

"Whilst we are not at the pace of the frontrunners at the moment, at Monaco you just never know what can happen."

Despite an improvement in performance from Schumacher, the gap to Sunday's race-winning Red Bull driven by Mark Webber increased as the 41-year-old finished over a minute adrift.

Schumacher knows he and Mercedes will have to conjure up something special if he is to add to his five wins at the famous venue.

"We hope the characteristics of the street circuit suit our car better than in Spain last weekend," said Schumacher.

"On the other hand, we should be careful to expect too much this time as we have seen in Barcelona there is still a lot of work ahead of us.

"So, other than having achieved my best result so far this season, I have taken with me a lot of motivation to work even harder with our engineers to improve the car further."





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