Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the return of grid girls for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Organisers of the Monte Carlo race are set to defy Formula One’s rulers by employing models before Sunday’s race.
Liberty Media abolished the long-standing F1 tradition at the beginning of the year after denouncing the practice as ‘at odds with modern-day societal norms’.
Liberty has since rolled out its grid kids scheme, with 20 children already involved in the junior ranks of motorsport lining up in front of the drivers prior to the start of the race.
The grid kids will still be used in Monte Carlo on Sunday, but the glamorous race is also primed to see the return of grid models.
Both female and male representatives of Tag Heuer – the Swiss watchmaker which shares a long-term relationship with the Monaco Grand Prix – will take to the grid in the moments before the race, capturing pictures of the drivers, which will be posted to social media, and also relaying messages from the sport’s fans.
The models however, will not hold the drivers’ grid placards, as had been the sport’s long-term practice until this season.
‘Women are the most beautiful thing in the world,’ Hamilton, 33, said. ‘Monaco is a very elegant grand prix and when we pull up to the grid and there’s beautiful women on the grid, that’s the Monaco Grand Prix and that’s a lovely thing.
‘I definitely don’t think we should ever be supporting or pushing these women in general to feel uncomfortable. And if they are, then we shouldn’t do it.’
The move by Liberty to scrub grid girls from the F1 calendar back in January received a mix response. Sebastian Vettel, the four-time champion, admitted earlier this year that he was saddened by the decision.
Speaking on Thursday, the 30-year-old German added: ‘The whole thing has been blown up, probably unnecessarily, because I don’t think any of the grid girls in the past were forced to do it. They enjoyed what they were doing.
‘I agree with Lewis. I like women. I think they look beautiful. The bottom line is that there is too much of a fuss nowadays.
‘All the women that took part as a grid girl in the past did it because they want to. I’m sure if you ask any grid girl on Sunday if they’re happy to stand there, their answer will be yes.
‘I don’t think there’s anybody that forces them to do it. So, it speaks a little bit for our time that sometimes there’s a lot of noise for nothing.’