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2013-05-23 09:00

IN LIVING COLOUR: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton shows off his new helmet showing an image of himself, girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and his dog Roscoe in a car, ahead of the 2013 Monaco GP on Sunday, May 26. Image: AFP/ Twitter

ALAN BALDWIN

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Lewis Hamilton made his point and Roscoe, his pampered pet bulldog, promptly proved him right here on Wednesday (May 22).

Positioning, the 2008 F1 World champion told British reporters gathered around him in his harbourside Mercedes motorhome, was everything in Monaco. He was referring to the special skills required to win the most glamorous race on the calendar.

Roscoe demonstrated that positioning was important in other ways, too...

SNORING MUTT

Nestled with his head on Hamilton's lap, the puppy stretched out comfortably on the bench alongside and started to snore - loudly.

"He was out late last night," Hamilton said, smiling as he completely lost the thread of the conversation amid general laughter. "He does it all the time. When I go to bed, he sits next to the bed or on it, and that's how he snores."

Hamilton - who has a colourful new helmet for Monaco with a cartoon of himself, Roscoe and American pop-singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger together in a car - could also be sitting pretty this weekend if Mercedes continues its qualifying form of the past three races.

Three poles.

The team is chasing a fourth consecutive pole and Hamilton's German team mate Nico Rosberg is looking for a hat trick.

In Spain earlier this month, the pair swept the front row but struggled with tyres during the race. Hamilton went from second to 12th and was lapped but Monaco is kinder on tyres and its far harder for drivers to overtake.

Hamilton added: "Positioning is everything here and if we can get on the front row we will be in good stead for the race. In 2007 I was in second and couldn't get past  Fernando (Alonso). In 2012 nobody could get past (Mark) Webber, it was just a train.

"The best chance is when you get pole. Spain was my best chance to get a win and we didn't do it. This is another chance..."

POOR FORM

Mercedes was mystified after the Barcelona GP about why its tyres lost performance so quickly, with the team looking at everything from procedures to how the drivers handled them. Hamilton was optimistic that progress had been made.

"There has been a huge reaction to the result from the guys. Everybody is working as hard as they can to improve and understand the tyres," he said. "We still need to experiment, to try different pressures, different temperatures..."

Hamilton's had two thirds from five races, much better for a team struggling to be competitive than many had predicted when he left McLaren at the end of 2012.

However, such had been Mercedes' improvement that it came as a real shock to struggle so much in the first race back in Europe after the long haul rounds in Asia and the Middle East.

"We were on a bit of a high," he said. "To see us then go back that far was a huge surprise and put us on the back foot but I feel positive about this weekend, I'm re-energised, refocused and ready for another challenge.

"Spain could easily be repeated if we get it wrong, although I don't think it's going to happen because we've learned, we're learning and improving. We went a direction in the last race with the car and tyres that didn't help."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.
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