Europe's Monaco Grand Prix has been voted as the favourite destination by British people as the ultimate sports event to visit.
No other sporting event comes near to being able to combine the year round sophistication and glamour of Monte Carlo with the heady excitement of F1's premier annual race on the streets of Monaco. The interest in F1 has been in decline in recent years in the UK, and it is a surprise perhaps that the Monaco Grand Prix has managed to retain her legendary status.
Part of the decline has been since television coverage in the UK switched from the BBC to ITV, with ITV running advertisements during the race.
But the biggest factor for the declining interest of F1 in the UK has been the marked lack of success in the sport for British drivers, with Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell the last two Britons to consistently win races and championships.
This year has seen the most open championship in some years, following the retirement of ace German driver Michael Schumacher.Seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher retired from racing at the end of the 2006 season, and his departure has increased the possibility of no individual driver dominating for some time to come.
The ace German driver won his championships in 1994 and 1995, and between 2000 and 2004 won five championships in a row.
A new star has entered the arena of F1, and it's a Briton, helping to re-ignite British interest in the sport, and going some way perhaps to explain the British love affair with the Monaco Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton is a 22-year-old Formula One racecar rookie who has taken the racing circuit by storm this year, finishing on the podium in third place in his first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, and then second in the Malaysian Grand Prix just two weeks later, then becoming the first driver to take three podium finishes in his first three races. He may seem to be an overnight sensation, but he's worked his way into the Formula One racing world since he was a mere youngster.
In an almost unbelievable stroke of luck, young eleven-year-old Lewis participated in, and won, the McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series in 1996 and met Ron Dennis, owner and director of the McLaren Formula One racing team. The introduction proved fortuitous for the youngster, who told Dennis that his goal was to race the Formula One circuit. A mere two years later, McLaren signed Lewis Hamilton to his 'McLaren Driver Development Support' program. The document served to make Lewis, at thirteen years old, the youngest driver in the world to have held an F1 racing contract.
As Lewis became more experienced and participated in pre-Formula One races, he distinguished himself with his dedication and gusto. The boy with the impish grin is still grinning as he poses for publicity shots at various pre-Formula One racing venues in which he has raced, including 2005's F3 Euro series, which he finished with 15 victories and 13 pole positions.
Lewis spent years racing go-karts and participating in Junior Formula One racing events, including the 2001 British F1 Renault winter series and the 2002 Formula Renault UK, as well as races in Macau and Korea's Grand Prix races. In 2005, Autosport magazine ranked Lewis 24th among their top 50 drivers.
As he has worked his way up the ranks, Lewis fast earned a reputation as an extremely gifted driver with the flair for daring racing maneuvers that reminds many of the 'old timers', who maintained top speeds and risky moves as they raced various courses around the world. His star seems to be rising as fast and surely as one of the the first black Formula One racecar drivers in the world.
In 2007, Lewis was signed on as a full time Formula One driver for McLaren's Formula One racing team, a dream come true for the vibrant, personable racer. He made his Formula One racing debut recently at the Australian Grand Prix this March, coming in third at the prestigious event in Melbourne.
A report for this year's Monaco Grand Prix and information about Monte Carlo can be found at YourMonaco.com