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Hamilton Wins The Monaco Grand Prix, Was It The Diamond Helmet?

First of all, the race is over and 23 year old Brit Hamilton Lewis has won. And Finnish born Heikki Kovalainen, who had to start last after stalling before the formation lap, was fourth on the grid, so it obviously wasn't the diamond helmet. What diamond helmet, you may ask?

Above: Hamilton Lewis holds his diamond studded helmet.

In the build up to the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Steinmetz, creators of the world's finest diamonds, announced the continuation of their long-running partnership by adorning their drivers with custom diamond helmets.

This year Steinmetz worked closely with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, in creating their own personalized race helmets, which both drivers used throughout this past Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Above: As if being a race car driver isn't sexy and exciting enough, Lewis and Kovalainen were given their own custom helmets adorned with diamonds.

Each helmet has the signature of the driver pavéd with a line of hundreds of Steinmetz's handcrafted diamonds.

Lewis Hamilton's Helmet:

Heikki Kovalainen's helmet:

Okay, so that's what they wore.

What did they drive?

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23

Above and below: The MP4-23 track debut


Type: Mercedes-Benz FO 108V
Capacity: 2.4 litre
No. of cylinders: 8
Max. rpm: 19,000 (FIA regulatory limit since 2007)
Bank angle: 90°
Piston bore maximum: 98 mm (FIA regulation)
Number of valves: 32
Fuel: Mobil 1 Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)
Lubricants: Mobil 1, newly developed 2008 formula for lower friction and better wear resistance
Engine: 95kg (minimum FIA regulation weight)

Gearbox Speeds: Seven forward and one reverse
Semi-auto: Yes
Driveshafts: McLaren
Clutch: Hand-operated
Chassis: McLaren moulded carbon fibre/aluminium honeycomb composite incorporating front and side impact structures. Contains integral safety fuel cell
Front Suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
Rear Suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
Suspension Dampers: Koni
Electronics: McLaren Electronic Systems control units incorporating electronics for chassis, engine and data acquisition. McLaren Electronic Systems also supplies the electronic dash board, alternator voltage control, sensors, data analysis and telemetry systems
Bodywork Construction: One-piece engine cover; seperate side pod covers. Separate floor section, structural nose with integral front wing.
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza
Radios: Kenwood
Race Wheels: Enkei
Brake Calipers and Brake Master Cylinders: Akebono
Batteries: GS Yuasa Corporation
Steering: McLaren power-assisted
Instruments: McLaren Electronic Systems

2008 Monaco Grand Prix standings:
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2. Kubica BMW Sauber
3. Massa Ferrari
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault
5. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari
6. Barrichello Honda
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota
8. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
9. Raikkonen Ferrari
10. Alonso Renault
11. Button Honda
12. Glock Toyota
13. Trulli Toyota
14. Heidfeld BMW Sauber
Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:16.689

A bit about McLaren and the Monaco Grand Prix:

The Principality of Monaco is the heady and glamorous location for round six of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship. The 20 cars and drivers will compete around the 3.34km street circuit, racing between the Princes's Palace and the Mediterranean sea covered in some of the World's most lavish yachts.

Since the start of the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz era, the team has won the race on five occasions. Mika Hakkinen in 1998, David Coulthard in 2000 and 2002, Kimi Raikkonen took the spoils in 2005 with Fernando Alonso claiming victory just ahead of then team-mate Lewis last year.

The connection to the race stretches back to the 60s, with Bruce McLaren taking the M2B to the track to make the marque's Formula 1 debut. In that time, the team has won a record 14 out of the 65 of Grands Prix staged in the Principality. This began with Alain Prost in 1984, kicking off a winning streak that stretched until 1993, with the exception of 1987. Five of these were at the hands of Ayrton Senna.

Monaco Grand Prix 2008 Monte Carlo Circuit Stats:
Track Length: 3.340km / 2.075 miles
Race Distance: 260.520km / 161.887 miles
Number of Laps: 78
Lap Record: Michael Schumacher, 1m14.439s

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