Hamilton reflects on his teenage dreams at Monaco

rugby23 May 2024 18:00| © AFP
article image
Lewis Hamilton © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton said he was grateful for a moment of reflection on Thursday morning when he recalled his first visits to Monaco and the realisation of his teenage dreams.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's 81st running of the Monaco Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion said he had a striking sense of the history and majesty of the event that he first attended as a 13-year-old as he arrived in the famous harbour driving through the tunnel.

"I really felt the place and its history and as I came through the tunnel I remembered Ayrton (Senna) from watching it on TV as a kid and that it felt surreal to think that I am now one of the 22 to do it – and that I have been doing it for so long," he said.

"It was my dream when I was 13 and I came here the first time and I thought this is the most beautiful place I've ever been and I want to live here."

Hamilton not only realised that dream, winning the Monaco Grand Prix three times – in 2008, 2016 and 2019 – but by buying an apartment and living in the Mediterranean principality.

"I raced here the first time when I was 18 or 19," he added.

"In Formula Three. And it was epic. I had a rented scooter and I was running around town and I went up to Eze and it was really epic for me. And then, I got to go on the grid and it was crazy because I had only ever seen Martin Brundle there.

"It’s a crazy place, a special place, it’s the pearl of our sport and the second smallest country in the world."

Hamilton’s golden recollection of his early experiences in Monaco may not have coincided with W. Somerset Maugham’s description of the principality as "a sunny place for shady people", but it was heart-felt.


The Mercedes driver, who is set to join Ferrari next year, has not allowed the demise of his team's form to diminish his pleasure from driving and suggested he will relish the action again this weekend.

Now 39, he takes a more mellowed view of his racing than he did as a forceful younger man.

"We don’t have any upgrades this weekend," he said. "The package was spread over the last two races. We have our highest downforce package and an evolved wing, but otherwise I don’t know where we’ll be.

“But I am more excited than I have been with the previous two cars. They were not so great. This one is a real work in progress and it’s much better than last year.

"There are so many things to consider – how high or low to run, the balance, weight distribution, cambers and tows. It is one thing to practice in the ‘sim’, but it is only at the track that you discover the issues you may or may not have.

"I hope we just hit the ground running and we don't look back, but that’s not been the case for the last two years. But this car is more predictable and it is nice to drive. It’s not perfect, but we are going in the right direction."