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.

UPDATE 2: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama once again under red-flag race stoppage

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UPDATE No. 2: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was closing in on restarting on Lap 23 or 24 before officials threw the second red flag race stoppage because of lingering puddles on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, particularly on the front stretch. We’ll keep you updated as situations warrant.

UPDATE No. 1: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.