Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has called the return of female models to the F1 grid at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix as "a beautiful thing".

The sport's owner Liberty Media stopped the use of grid girls in January, saying their use was "at odds with modern day societal norms".

Models for Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer will feature on the grid at Monaco - though not in 'grid girl' roles.

The models - who will include men - will be there only as representatives of Tag Heuer, taking pictures of the drivers to be posted on social media.

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"Women are the most beautiful thing in the world," Hamilton told bbc.com.

"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."

Last month, Monaco organisers spoke of their opposition to Liberty's ban.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel agreed with Lewis.

"I like women. I think they look beautiful. The bottom line is that there is too much of a fuss nowadays," the German said.

"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."

The decision to drop grid girls proved controversial. Supporters of Liberty's stance agreed that the practice objectified women.

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