Martin Whitmarsh proud of McLaren’s Monaco record

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They may have made a quiet start to the 2013 Formula One season, but Martin Whitmarsh is very proud of McLaren’s excellent record around the streets of Monaco, with F1 returning to the principality next weekend.

“Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has a fabulous record in Monte Carlo. We’ve taken 15 wins – more than any other constructor – through the streets of the principality and while we’re not yet in a position to challenge for victories this year, we’ll relish the challenge provided by this race and we hope to challenge for more points with both cars,” Whitmarsh said in the team’s GP preview.

McLaren last won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2008 as Lewis Hamilton excelled in the wet conditions, but the team is unlikely to repeat this performance as both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez struggle with the MP4-28 car. However, Whitmarsh believes that a good result is still achievable relying the team can have a strong qualifying session on Saturday.

“Overtaking opportunities are limited at Monaco, even with the DRS, so qualifying is going to be very important on Saturday afternoon. Both of our drivers know how to turn a quick lap, and Sergio can take a lot of confidence from his excellent performance during Q2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Jenson Button’s aims for the race are much the same, believing that McLaren can make another “small step forward” in Monaco, but the team will be keen on extending its imperious record should the chance come about.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”