Hamilton set for 'scary but cool' Monaco roller coaster
With four straight victories behind him and leading the world championship heading into tomorrow'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. 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."
Hamilton's great hero, the late Ayrton Senna, 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. 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 – there's no room for error." (© Independent News Service)
MONACO GRAND PRIX, LIVE, SKY SPORTS F1, TOMORROW, 12.00