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Hamilton plays down Monaco chances 22 May 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mclaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2007

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is remaining cautious over his chances of victory at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, despite having never lost around the challenging Monte Carlo street circuit.

Hamilton, who has finished on the podium at every race this season, triumphed in last year’s GP2 event in Monaco and also won on his previous visit in the F3 Euroseries. The Englishman, however, is taking nothing for granted.

"I have always run well at Monaco, having won there on my previous two visits to the race,” he said. “I am going to the race again this year with the intention of fighting for the win, but that is the case at everything I compete in.

"However we do have to keep being realistic, this will be my fifth race in Formula One and I am still developing. We have to focus on keeping scoring points for both the constructors' and drivers' championships and take it step by step."

Hamilton, who leads the driver standings from team mate Fernando Alonso, makes no secret of his love for Monte Carlo and confessed that driving a Grand Prix car there will fulfil one of his lifetime ambitions.

"It is one of the tracks I have always dreamed of racing at in Formula One,” he said. “For me it is the best circuit of the year, there is nowhere like it for getting the adrenaline going, because the track is so tight and there are no run-off areas, you have to be incredibly precise, there is no room for error and as a driver that makes it all the more exciting.”

Not since Juan Manuel Fangio took victory in 1950's inaugural world championship Monaco Grand Prix has a driver won the race at his first attempt. However, Hamilton has already become the youngest championship leader in history - and the first man to stand on the podium in all of his first four races - so few will be surprised if he adds another record this weekend.