F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton cannot wait for the ‘scary roller-coaster ride’ to fifth victory

 

Monaco

With four straight victories behind him and leading the world championship heading into Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton is in a good place. And in the relaxed state befitting a man who is beginning to realise his destiny, he has been waxing lyrical about a circuit he adores.

“There’s not a single part of this track that doesn’t make my hair stand up on end,” he admitted. “Honestly, I wish you could feel what we feel when we go round here. It’s like when you go on the most scary roller-coaster ride, perhaps when they drop you off a cliff and you go down. And that first bit, that fear factor, that initial part, lasts for just a second. But here, it’s the whole lap that’s like that. It’s scary, but it’s cool!

“It’s all these different emotions in one. It’s the most incredible roller-coaster ride. It’s a circuit where you have to walk very slowly before you can run.”

The French driver Jean-Éric Vergne says that this is a place where you always have to arrive feeling humble, no matter what you might have done here before. His young team-mate at Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat, had never driven on any kind of street circuit, let alone Monaco, when he arrived here. Hamilton chuckled sympathetically at that.

“It’s going to be a scary nightmare for him. It’s so fast. We go up that hill at nearly 200mph, and you can’t even see the corner at the top as it drops down. You’re just looking at the sky and all of a sudden the corner arrives, and you can’t see round it. I’m just getting excited thinking about it…”

 

Hamilton’s great hero, the late Ayrton Senna – who beat Graham Hill’s long-standing record of successive victories here with his fifth in 1993 – once admitted that driving a qualifying lap here felt like an out-of-body experience where he was so in the zone that  he was almost driving sub-consciously.

“I don’t think I relate fully to that,” Hamilton said. “No, I’m very much there. But it’s unlike anything else. You know that death – well, not death – but the wall is just there. Right there. That one small turn-in too early and you’re gone. Brake a couple of metres too late and you’re in the wall. That’s why it’s the best track, because there’s no room for error.”

In the past, in slower-cornering cars, drivers used to say they could recognise faces in the crowd going through Casino Square. But not now, Hamilton confirmed.

“There’s some places you might be aware of them, but not there. So much is going on. When you come out of the chicane you can catch people in the corner of your eye, maybe. But going up the hill you can catch a glimpse of the TV screen, and watch it. I do it at every race. They might have the positions so it helps you understand more than your pit board, or you can see where the guy behind you is on another part of the track and gauge the gap.” And that’s at 200mph.

There are no easy corners here, not even the seafront chicane which is approached at close to 170mph before the drivers brake at five or six G. But Piscine, the swimming pool, has four of the most breathtakingly fast changes of direction.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous, man,” Hamilton said, laughing out loud. “It’s insane how fast we go through there. The coolest thing is they allow us to race here. It’s the most really incredible race there is. It’s a massive risk to try and overtake. But over a single lap, it’s the best.”

He could have won here in his rookie season in 2007, and did so in 2008, but curiously he has never been on the crucial pole position. “That’s true,” he reflected. “Jeez, I haven’t been on pole here in F1... I was on pole in Formula 3, and GP2, but yeah… I didn’t even think of that. Damn…”

In the best car in the field, he will go all-out to rectify that, loving every moment of a spectacular challenge.

Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg is believed to have signed a two-year deal to stay at Mercedes until the end of the 2016 season.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition