Lew set to sparkle - Emirates24|7

Lew set to sparkle

Hamilton shows his helmet with diamond-encrusted signature (GETTY IMAGES)

A week after making a leaden stage appearance as a Greek mythology character, Lewis Hamilton cradled a diamond-studded helmet and recast himself as Formula One's "King of Bling".

"Bling bling, I love it," declared the McLaren driver after showing off the sparkling helmets that he and Finnish team mate Heikki Kovalainen will wear at next week's Monaco Grand Prix.

"Diamonds are a beautiful thing," added the Briton. "I'm always racing, but sometimes you get some of the nice quirks and bonuses and I guess this is it."

The helmets, each with the drivers' signature traced out with hundreds of gems, are the creation of diamond company and McLaren sponsor Steinmetz.

The drivers will also receive diamond rings, in Hamilton's case for the second year in a row after he was given one worth $10,000 (Dh36,700) and modelled on a tyre before his Monaco debut last year.

The Briton came second to then teammate Fernando Alonso, the double world champion who has since returned to Renault, in a race that blew the lid off their simmering on-track rivalry.

Hamilton, who finished a fighting second to Ferrari's Felipe Massa in Turkey last weekend, will be a favourite to go one better this year and get the Monaco win that he felt he was denied in 2007.

Ferrari have won the last four races, but Monaco is very much McLaren territory and Hamilton said he could not wait for what he called the "most exciting race of the year".

"It's the race to win, and for sure this year I want to make that step up," he said.

Team boss Ron Dennis said there would be no favouritism, however.

"The reality is we pride ourselves on providing quality to both our drivers," he said. (Reuters)