| LONDON, March 9
LONDON, March 9 Lewis Hamilton has made
his move before the start of the Formula One season and can now
call Monaco a home race as well as his favourite grand prix.
McLaren's 2008 world champion has left Switzerland, his home
for the past few years, for a new base in the Mediterranean
principality where he will have several F1 drivers as
"I just fancied a change," the 27-year-old told British
reporters, adding that he had moved in "a week or so ago".
"It was a bit boring where I was living before, not many
people around, so it was good to move," added the Briton, who
had lived most recently in Zurich after a spell in Geneva.
"Where I've moved to there are quite a lot of people that I
know there, quite a lot of the drivers are there. So there's a
bit more of a social life, there's better weather, it's by the
sea, overall just a bit better.
"It's kind of cool that you get to be at home whilst a grand
prix is going on. I think it will be pretty neat," said the 2008
Monaco Grand Prix winner and 2007 runner-up.
"I can meet up with quite a few of the drivers if I want to
do training, and my trainer is also just up the road. I've
settled down quite well there.
"I still have loads of boxes to unpack, but I'm sure I can
get someone to do that for me."
Hamilton limbered up for the season, which starts in
Melbourne next week, by driving reporters around a track in
southern England in McLaren's fearsome MP4-12C GT3 race-spec
He looked sharp, hungry to be back behind the wheel and
determined to focus on the future.
The championship opens with four long-haul races but the
Briton, who had a nightmare season last year while trying to
keep alive a transatlantic relationship with American singer
Nicole Scherzinger, intends to be more settled in 2012.
He said he now planned to spend much more of his time at
home when in Europe.
Hamilton won three races last year but ended up beaten
overall by team mate Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, in
a championship dominated by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Testing times can be misleading but the title battle already
looks like being much tighter with McLaren, who were playing
catch-up this time last year, looking quick and tipped to take
the battle to Red Bull right from the start.
Hamilton was clearly pleased with how the winter tests in
Spain had gone.
"I kept a nice amount of fuel in the car for all of my
tests. I wasn't really bothered with positioning. What matters
is when we get to the first race," he smiled.
"It looks like it could be a bit different to the past
couple of years where we've had the Red Bull just much quicker
than everyone else.
"The Lotus looks like it can be really quick, a couple of
the teams have different exhaust solutions. Us, Ferrari and Red
Bull generally have a similar exhaust solution. The others, like
the Lotus have a different solution, so do Mercedes and they
still seem to be quick," he added.
"So it will be a battle as to which of those designs has the
longest road of development, and how far ours can go."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)