McLaren preview the Monaco GP

Ready to face the "tough challenge" of the Monte Carlo street circuit, both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are targeting a strong showing in qualifying…

Fernando Alonso: "Monaco is one of those circuits that’s in its own league. Although it’s almost impossible to overtake there, it still produces one of the most impressive and exciting shows on the Formula 1 calendar. As a circuit and as a place, it’s completely unique, and this is what makes it so special. There are three areas you have to focus on for this grand prix – qualifying, concentration, and strategy. Saturday is where you can increase your chances of getting a good result from the weekend, so this will be our first objective, and I’m hopeful we can continue to strengthen our qualifying performance and improve our starting position.

"On Sunday, the most important thing is concentration – the streets are so narrow and twisty that there is no margin for error – so if you can do this and also maximise your strategy, you have the best chance of moving up the order by the end of the race. My home race in Barcelona was obviously a frustrating weekend for the whole team; we were unlucky with how my race ended and we firmly believed we could’ve achieved a positive result there. Our fighting spirit is still strong though, and we’re determined to take that to Monaco and see how much progress we can make there. I’m hopeful our car will perform better there than in Spain, and we’ll be pushing again to get into the points.

"Monaco is a tough challenge, mentally, but that’s what makes it even more rewarding when you hook up a perfect lap. I’ve always enjoyed racing there and I’ve enjoyed victory there twice – in 2006 with Renault, and the year after with McLaren. Winning there is an unforgettable experience. It’s also a truly unforgiving circuit, so making mistakes comes at a high price. But Monaco is Monaco, one of the best races of the year, and the reason that the drivers love going back there each season."

Jenson Button: "It’s true what they say – Monaco is the jewel in the crown of the Formula 1 calendar in every sense. It’s a real test of man and machine working in harmony to hook up the best lap, and maintain that consistency lap after lap. It’s very easy to make mistakes there, and you need complete confidence in the car and incredible control and accuracy to get the most out of a lap. Qualifying is so important because overtaking is famously tricky; we’ve been steadily improving our starting positions since the beginning of the season, so I’m hopeful we’ll see further progress on Saturday.

"Monaco is a low-speed circuit that doesn’t rely that much on aerodynamic performance, but you do need good balance and driveability. I’m hopeful we can sort out the balance issues we had on my car in the last race, so Monaco should see an improvement. After a disappointing race in Barcelona, naturally it’s easy to be frustrated when you step out of the car, especially when you feel you deserved more. I firmly believe that we’re making solid progress, which is why having a difficult race is hard to take. However, we’ve put that race behind us and I think we’ve a decent chance of continuing our upward trend in Monaco.

"I love Monaco; I won there in 2009 and the feeling you get driving there is absolutely mega. While nothing beats the feeling of racing at your home grand prix, Monaco has become an adopted home race for me, so driving around these famous streets so close to where I live makes it even more special. Racing at Monaco is an incredible challenge – being precise on turn-in, hitting the apex and balancing the throttle, while being as patient as possible to get the best exit, is a real art. The flow of corners in the middle sector – from Mirabeau, into the Hairpin and on to Portier – is particularly tricky, as it’s so easy to go a foot off the racing line and end up in the wall. Monaco always produces great drama, which just adds to its legendary status as one of the best grands prix on the calendar."

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