Mercedes have revealed why Lewis Hamilton changed his helmet during the red flag period of the Monaco Grand Prix. Hamilton had been using a special white/purple design during the weekend in Monte Carlo, which was inspired by his favourite crystal, the amethyst. This was the version that the Briton was sporting when Sunday's race began. However, during the second red flag period – which occurred when Mick Schumacher suffered a high-speed crash at the Swimming Pool section on Lap 24 – Hamilton swapped back to his more familiar yellow helmet. The move did not go unnoticed by many eagle-eyed fans, and now Mercedes have explained the reasons behind the switch.
Hamilton's Monaco helmet swap explained
In a Monaco Grand Prix debrief video released by the team, Andrew Shovlin – Trackside Engineering Director at the Silver Arrows – revealed that the changing weather conditions were an influential factor in Hamilton changing his lid. "In those very dark wet conditions at the start of the race, they are running a clear visor and that gives them the best visibility in the spray," Shovlin said. "When you get into the dry race, also the sun is a lot lower in the sky, the end of the race was near six o'clock in the evening. "He then moves to a tinted visor, just because it gives you better visibility, better contrast, but also you avoid getting the sun in your eyes."
The "frustration" over Hamilton's race
In terms of how the race itself played out for Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion found himself struggling to get past Fernando Alonso's Alpine for many laps of the Grand Prix. He eventually finished the day in P8, and Shovlin admits that it was frustrating to think about what could have been. When asked if Hamilton could have battled with George Russell and Lando Norris for fifth had it not been for the Alpines – with Hamilton having earlier made contact with Alonso's teammate Esteban Ocon – Shovlin responded: "Almost certainly, yes. "The frustration with Lewis' Monaco race was that he spent almost all of it in traffic. He didn't get many laps to show what he could actually do. "But the car was working reasonably well. We haven't got the pace there to compete with the Ferrari and the Red Bull, but certainly he would have been in amongst that battle with George and with Lando."