Lewis Hamilton fully deserves to win next weekend's glamorous Monaco Grand Prix and become the sixth different winner in six Formula One races this season, his team chief Martin Whitmarsh has declared this week.
In a clear statement of intent ahead of a race in which McLaren have an enviable record of success historically, Whitmarsh said Hamilton has shown himself to be in the right frame of mind to repeat his 2008 win en route to his first drivers' title.
“He is in that frame of mind, he deserves it - there is absolutely no doubt about it,” said Whitmarsh.
“We have to work hard, make sure he has got a good car, make sure we don't make any mistakes, and make sure he is in a position to fulfil his potential at a circuit where he has won in F3, GP2 and F1.
“He has won it in every category - so he would like to win it again.”
Hamilton has been in scintillating form this year, starting from pole position twice - it would have been thrice if his team had not failed to fuel his car properly in Spain last weekend - and racing with élan and control.
But he is yet to finish better than third in a race in a season that has delivered unpredictable topsy-turvy racing, thanks to the unforgiving low-durability Pirelli tyres being used this year.
Whitmarsh said he hoped Hamilton's luck will turn and enable his McLaren team to stop Red Bull racing to a third successive win in the Mediterranean principality following victories in 2010 and 2011 from Australian Mark Webber and champion German Sebastian Vettel.
“We have won more Monacos than anyone else, we go there with the belief that we can win, but anyone who makes predictions in this sport at the moment would be nuts!” said Whitmarsh.
“It really is virtually impossible to make these predictions - five races in, five winners, five different constructors - and it could be after Monaco six races and six different winners. I hope not six constructors - I hope we can win that.”
Rival team chief Christian Horner of Red Bull believes consistency is the key to success this season.
“I think it is not by coincidence that we have had five races now and five different winners,” he said.
“It is also not coincidence that we have managed to emerge from race five and we find ourselves leading both drivers' and constructors' championships.
“These tyres are obviously the key to performance.
GREAT DEAL OF HEAD SCRATCHING
“I think there is a great deal of head scratching going on up and down the paddock and it is a matter of whoever understands these tyre characteristics and manages to broaden the window of performance from track to track will ultimately prevail.
“I think where we have done a good job is on the days where we have not been able to win, we have managed to stage a respectable recovery. Consistency over the year is ultimately what is going to be critical.
“Who knows, we might have Caterham winning the next race! I think for the time being, performance is going to fluctuate from team to team, but overall the most important thing is to be consistent.”
Pirelli boss Paul Hembery, meanwhile, has responded to the Italian suppliers' critics by saying that the variety of winners and the unpredictability of this year's racing is good for the sport.
“The vast majority of feedback we get is that people are enjoying the races,” he said. At the start of the year, if we had said five different winners and five different cars then everyone would have suggested you had been smoking something - but we have got it.
“And I think the vast majority of fans will be pleased to see exciting races. Anyone who begrudges (Pastor) Maldonado's win in Spain with Williams is someone who needs to get out a bit more because the whole paddock was delighted. I think for a lot of people's Ä that is what they want to see.” -Sapa-AFP