WANTS A WIN IN HIS HOME TOWN: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is accustomed to the streets of Monte Carlo - after all, he lives there... Image: AFP/ Jean Christophe Magnenet
MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Lewis Hamilton hopes to be third-time lucky in Monaco on Sunday (May 24) to take revenge on Nico Rosberg by denying his Mercedes team mate a hat trick of wins in Formula 1's most glamorous race.
In 2014 the pair were barely on speaking terms after a qualifying controversy threw their relationship into a deep freeze.
The chill between the title rivals has since thawed but neither will be giving an inch in what constitutes a home race for each and should give Mercedes a third win in a row.
ROSBERG HAS THE MOMENTUM
Rosberg is back on form, setting up his triple bid by winning the 2015 Spanish GP and halting F1 champion Hamilton's dominant start to the season.
While the German will want to continue the momentum, Hamilton is just as hungry to reassert himself and add to his 20-point lead in the standings with a long-overdue triumph in a favourite race.
The Briton said in his third year with Mercedes and with a lucrative contract extension: "The last two years I have had the car to win. The first year I struggled with it. In 2015 I had the pace but other things were up against me. In 2015 it hope it will be third time lucky."
Pole will be as crucial as ever on a tight and twisty circuit where overtaking is almost impossible and Hamilton, after 2014, will be warier this time.
2014 MONACO GP ALTERCATION
That drama saw Rosberg take pole then make a mistake on the entry to Mirabeau, going down the escape road and bringing out yellow warning flags just as Hamilton was about to go faster.
An angry Hamilton said, suggesting intent: "I should have known that was going to happen."
This time, he will simply make sure he gets his fastest lap in first.
"I will have the choice to go ahead of him so I will make sure I do that," said Hamilton, whose only Monaco win has been with McLaren (2008) on the way to his first title.
If Rosberg were to win again, he would become only the fourth driver (the others Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost) to take three successive victories in the showcase race and the irony will not be lost on Hamilton.
Senna, who won five times in a row, was the Briton's boyhood idol whose three championship titles Hamilton can equal this year.
Ferrari, which has not won in Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001, should be Mercedes's closest rival with Sebastian Vettel a winner with Red Bull in 2011 and Kimi Raikkonen with McLaren in 2005.
At the back, Manor Marussia will return with sadness to the scene of its greatest success. French driver Jules Bianchi, who finished ninth in the principality last year, remains in a coma in hospital in nearby Nice following a crash there.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.