Nicolas Hamilton: My bond with Dad suffered because of Lewis’s career. But he’s dedicated to me now – The Sun Jump directly to the content

Nicolas Hamilton: My bond
with Dad suffered because
of Lewis’s career. But he’s
dedicated to me now

Brother of F1 ace on relationship with demanding father Anthony

WHEN Lewis Hamilton raced to fame and fortune fuelled by the dedication of his
dad Anthony, one person was left behind.

He was the Formula One ace’s younger half-brother Nicolas — today himself a
successful racing driver.

Here, for the first time, the 19-year-old talks about the pain of missing out
on his father’s attention while living in the shadow of Lewis’s brilliant
rise up the racing ladder.

Nic says: “My relationship with Dad did suffer because of Lewis’s racing
career. We were very distant.

“Dad only puts time into something he knows will be a success or make him

“I wouldn’t say even now that we have the perfect father and son bond.”

Nic was just a toddler when big brother Lewis, who was then ten, moved in with
him, their dad Anthony and Nic’s mum — Lewis’s stepmum — Linda.

Lewis, now 27, had previously lived with his mother Brenda, who had split from
Anthony when the champion-to-be was two.

From that time on, Lewis was Anthony’s focus as he rose up from racing
radio-controlled cars, through go-karting to car racing — managed by
ambitious Anthony.

And even when Nic took up the family hobby, he could not win his father’s

He recalls: “When I was a teenager I started racing remote controlled cars for
fun, which is how Lewis started racing.

“I then started racing them professionally and wanted Dad to come along but he
was too busy with Lewis. It was hard.

“Everyone else was with their dads and I was on my own. I didn’t resent him
but I did feel disappointed and it got to the stage where I was fed up.

“Eventually he came to some races and Lewis came as well to support me but I
could tell Dad wasn’t enjoying it.”

He adds: “But the good thing about my career is that it has brought my dad and
myself closer together.”

Nic made his car racing debut last year in the Renault Clio Cup saloon car
championships. He finished 14th overall in the season.

And he had overcome far more than the lack of full attention from his father.

Nic has cerebral palsy and when he was 18 months old doctors said it was
unlikely he would ever walk — let alone drive.

Nicolas Hamilton, brother of Lewis Hamilton, tests his Renault Clio Cup car prior to his racing debut at Brands Hatch on April 2/3.

Simon Hildrew/ The Sun

But Nic says that despite his incredible achievements, Anthony STILL
never tells him that he is proud of him.

He says: “It’s tough love with my dad — and he makes no allowances for my

The speedster, who is preparing for the new season which kicks off this month,
explains: “He always feels I can do better but that’s because he is hugely
competitive and is a perfectionist.

“When I do well in a race, Dad never comes up and hugs me.

“He might give me a pat on the back or a handshake but he’ll never tell me he
is proud of me.

“The most I get is a ‘well done’ but that is a massive thing for him.

“In dad’s eyes he is doing it for my own good. He is trying to build me up —
and it works, because it has made me more determined and focused.”

This tough love approach was evident last season when Nicolas crashed into a
tyre barrier at 100mph. Rather than console him, Anthony exploded with

Lewis Hamilton and his brother Nic at Nic's third birthday party.


“Dad was angry because the car was a write-off,” says Nicolas. “He was worried
for my safety but it can come across sometimes that he is more worried about
the racing than my wellbeing.

“My disability and lack of experience makes every situation twice as hard and
I do feel like he doesn’t always understand what it’s like to be a driver.”

Nic says there was a noticeable shift in their relationship after Lewis
“sacked” Anthony as his manager two years ago.

He says: “Since he has stopped managing Lewis our relationship has improved
because he doesn’t have the stress of being his manager. Now he is more
relaxed and easier to approach. I’ve always wanted my Dad to focus on
something with me because he focused on Lewis so much. But now I’ve found
racing, which is good and I’m happy he has that dedication to me.”

And he has no doubt that it was their father who instilled pride and ambition
in his young family as they were growing up in a council house in

Nic says: “He taught us that being poor and black did not mean we were second
best to anyone and said we should always follow our dreams.

Nicholas Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger Formula 1 One Grand Prix Qualifying Monaco

Alpha Pres

“But growing up we never had it easy. Dad struggled to support us. As well as
working for British Rail he had other jobs, including selling double glazing

Much of Nicolas’s early life was spent on the road following Lewis — who
started competitive go-karting at eight and began his car racing career in
2001 — from track to track. He remembers: “We would all turn up at a rack
track in a car and trailer and everyone had these nice motor homes.

“I always remember mum using a Calor Gas cooker so we could keep warm.

“Eventually we managed to afford a campervan and mum and I would often sit and
play card games or we’d watch Gladiators.

“I guess we were always there for Lewis but that had to happen if he was ever
going to be a success.

“My dad saw a way of getting the Hamilton family not so much out of the slums,
but out there and earning a better living.”

2011 Renault Clio Cup Brands Hatch, Kent, 3rd April 2011 Nicolas Hamilton in the Renault Clio Cup World

Jakob Ebrey

And Lewis always made time for Nicolas too — even stepping in to stop him
being bullied at school.

Nic says: “The muscles in my leg became really weak when I was a teenager. I
used a wheelchair from the age of 12 to 16.

“I was about 14 when four boys came up behind me in the playground, pulled my
wheelchair backwards and left me there.

“A lot of people didn’t like me and envied me because of Lewis. I didn’t tell
my dad.

“It would have affected him massively and he would have been straight in to
see the head. But I did tell Lewis and we went to confront the bullies. I
talked to them while he stood in the background with his friends in case it
all kicked off, but it didn’t. I think they were too intimidated to say

“After that Lewis tried to toughen me up by giving me boxing lessons to defend
myself. Lewis was bullied at school because of who he was and he could fight
if he needed to.”

For eight months last year, cameras followed Nicolas for a BBC1 documentary,
Racing With The Hamiltons: Nic in the Driving Seat, which screens tonight at

And Nicolas is perfectly aware he owes part of his own fame and success in
racing to having the Hamilton name.

He admits: “Lewis’s career has given me access to the best cars. Not many top
teams would take on rooky drivers but I think the Hamilton name generates
the sort of publicity they want and makes it easier to get good deals.

“But I don’t want to live off what my dad or brother have created.

“I don’t want to be a sponger. I am actually very tight with my money. I don’t
lead a flashy lifestyle. I still live with Mum and Dad in the same house
we’ve had for the last ten years and the most expensive thing I’ve bought is
an Apple MacBook laptop.” Recently, it has been rumoured that Lewis has got
back together with his singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, following their
split last year.

But while Lewis often invited Nicole to his races, Nicolas has barred his own
girlfriend Mel, a waitress, from being at the track.

Nic declares: “I have always said that I won’t let a girl come between me and
my racing career and it’s got to be a special girl who understands. She
would be a distraction. She does understand though and is very supportive.

“My disability hasn’t affected our relationship either.

“She has seen my attitude towards disability so she doesn’t see the disability
— which is a great thing.

“And to me that is why she means so much.”

Additional reporting: OLIVIA BUXTON