Hamilton raring to go in Monaco
Lewis Hamilton has admitted to pinching himself as he enjoys a new-found Monaco lifestyle after leaving behind his Swiss isolation.
It was at the end of his stunning debut year in 2007 that Hamilton opted to quit Britain and move abroad, citing press intrusion, but primarily for tax reasons.
Rather than pitching up in Monaco as many Formula One drivers had done before him, Hamilton opted for Switzerland, initially settling down in Geneva before switching to Zurich.
But the 27-year-old McLaren star soon grew bored of the tranquil setting, and hankering for a more lively scene he made the move to the principality earlier this year.
Now residing in the same apartment block as Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg and McLaren's former double world champion Mika Hakkinen, Hamilton's journey to work was just a short scooter ride.
"I love it here," said Hamilton.
"To be able to wake up in your own bed, drive just down the road and be at work is a fantastic feeling.
"Today was my first experience of that and I'm sure it will make quite a big difference.
"I loved where I lived before, but this is a different place and I seem to be enjoying it a little bit more.
"Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries I've been to - with the weather a little like England.
"Where I was living was away from the city and it was very quiet. It took ages to go to a restaurant. I couldn't jog or walk to one.
"Here it's sunny every day which makes a big difference, with great restaurants a couple of minutes from where I live, there's a gym where I live, and a pool.
"Before I used to have to drive half an hour to get to the gym, so things were just less fun there.
"I'm still in my twenties so I feel I need to make sure I continue to enjoy them more, and since I've been here I've been much happier.
"Every day I go running on the track, and it's incredible to run around your favourite circuit every day.
"I go through the tunnel and I just cannot believe I'm there.
"You have to pinch yourself every day, thinking, 'Wow! I'm running through the tunnel that the greats like Michael (Schumacher) and Ayrton (Senna) used to race around'.
"Now I'm one of those drivers, but also living here. There's a lot to it, but it's spectacular."
Whether it makes a difference to his performance over the next few days remains to be seen, however Hamilton is hoping so.
Hamilton, eight points behind leaders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso in the drivers' standings, added: "It definitely won't harm the weekend.
"But being able to be comfortable in your own environment, surely that can account for something."
Even McLaren team-mate Jenson Button resides in Monaco again, moving away from his former home in Guernsey in February.
"Last week I was out on the bike five times in seven days, and that for me is just perfect," said Button.
"Spending time outside is what I love. I'm an outdoors person, and the weather here has been good.
"In Guernsey it rains a lot, and I can't see where I'm going because of the clouds.
"I do love Guernsey as a place, but I think they've had the worst year of weather in 22 years, and I struggled with that a little.
"I'm really enjoying being back, and there are a lot people here who had moved away and come back, or they have moved here, like Paul di Resta, DC (David Coulthard) is back, Wurzy (Alexander Wurz) is here, loads of other guys.
"I've a lot more people to do stuff with, train with, which is good."
But not Hamilton, though, with Button adding: "I haven't seen Lewis since he has been here - and anyway, we don't do the same training."