Nicolas Hamilton has detailed how his half-brother Lewis helped him when he was struggling at school due to bullying, admitting he is the F1 champion’s “biggest fan” because of his actions on and off the track. Nic, who has cerebral palsy, made the comments to Sky Sports F1’s Natalie Pinkham on the latest episode of the In The Pink podcast, speaking at length about dealing with his condition, growing up with older brother Lewis, and forging his own successful motorsport career.
The 28-year-old is now racing in the British Touring Car Championship despite being told he would likely never walk because of his condition and spoke particularly candidly about his younger years, and says he was bullied upon moving to secondary school after having to switch to a wheelchair. He revealed to Pinkham how he turned to brother Lewis, who is seven years his elder and was just about to become an F1 star, for advice.
“It was actually my brother that I went to when I first started struggling,” explained Nic. “I said, ‘Lewis, what do I do? I’ve got these kids now just taking the mick out of me being in a wheelchair’. “His answer was that I just need to continue to be myself. He said, ‘if people are laughing at this wheelchair that you’re in, then why don’t we make it cool and do some cool things in it?’
“He taught me how to do wheelies and stuff in the wheelchair, and I almost became like a Tony Hawk skateboarder in my wheelchair, I started jumping stairs and trying to be cool. That helped me through it. “It was a character-building moment, so I’m glad I went through it.” Nicolas and Lewis lived in the same house growing up and share the same father, Anthony. Nic, who said he made a “conscious decision not to let his condition define him” from a young age, also revealed how his parents helped him.
“My parents are hard nuts,” he said. “Especially my Dad. He never wanted me to struggle and he always wanted me to fight my own battles. He would never give me the easy option or the easy route. “The same with my Mum. It was already building my mental strength up around my condition. So bullying was small-fry on that occasion.” Lewis Hamilton has regularly claimed that his younger brother, who joins him at as many races as possible, is an inspiration to him. And the feeling is definitely mutual.
“I could talk about him forever because my life has revolved around him – but not through hateful eyes, just pure pride,” said Nic. “I’m his biggest fan.” He added that it was incredible to see his brother become such an inspiration. “I don’t think he realises how much he means to me. “I’m so, so, so proud of him, and to see where he’s come from, being a poor black kid with actually not much going for him, to now be known as one of the most influential sporting athletes in the world, means so much to me.
“I still can’t believe he’s doing that because who are we to have this sort of effect on people? We’re just a normal family. “I remember the days of karting and kids were wearing Michael Schumacher helmets. When you asked kids what they wanted to do when they were older, they said they wanted to be the next Michael Schumacher.