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Lewis Hamilton rides into Monaco on his personalised motorbike ahead of Grand Prix as he aims to increase his Formula One championship lead

Lewis Hamilton rides into Monaco on his personalised motorbike ahead of Grand Prix as he aims to increase his Formula One championship lead .

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most glamorous events of the sporting year, and amidst the glitz and riches on show, it takes something to stand out.

Step forward F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who glided into the paddock on Wednesday on his bright red, custom built motorbike.

The Mercedes driver rode his special edition LH44 MV Agusta Dragster RR onto the Monte Carlo circuit, where first practice for the 2018 race will begin on Thursday.

The MV Augusta – featuring Hamilton’s own branding, such as the No 44 which also emblazons his F1 car – is frequently ridden to races by Hamilton, but at Monaco looks especially at home.

After his arrival, Hamilton spent time signing autographs and taking selfies with fans, as did his fellow racers, including Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.

Vettel and Hamilton are set for a close title race this year, with the Brit leading the driver’s standings with 95 points after victory at the Spanish GP, but Vettel within striking range on 78 in second.

They sat next to each other at the press conference on Wednesday, where Vettel – who finished fourth at Barcelona after a strategy error as Hamilton went on to win – admitted Ferrari have to improve to catch Mercedes.

‘It’s fair to summarize Barcelona wasn’t a good race for us. We fell a bit behind,’ Vettel said. ‘Time will tell if we’ve found a good direction.’

Hamilton meanwhile is cautious despite the win in Spain. Ferrari have been quicker over individual laps than Mercedes this year, and with qualifying so crucial on the tight Monaco circuit, the Brit is anticipating a tough fight.

‘I anticipate it’s going to be a difficult weekend and we may not have the pace of the others,’ Hamilton said. ‘I think we’re working the right direction. But it is up and down. The first five races are always very difficult. It’s a learning curve.’

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