Lewis Hamilton spoke to the Times at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix about just how important it was to have his family at his side throughout his Formula One career. Having overcome a close-ended childhood illness to find fame on the circuit, Hamilton’s win in Abu Dhabi gave him his fifth world championship – the third time he has achieved the feat in his career.
Nicolas Hamilton was there to witness Lewis’ first championship, aged 24. It was the moment he knew this would be a successful journey for his brother. “I remember it was at the Monaco Grand Prix I was over there and Lewis got his first championship,” said Nicolas. “That was the first time my dad was there. When I heard he was winning, I got on the radio and spoke to him to say ‘good, fantastic, I know it’s hard but well done’.
“That was probably the high point of my childhood. I don’t think I realised until then how much work he had put in. He got he first one when he was 24, I think he was 25 at the time. That was his chance to go and grow and I think he realised that when he got his second one.”
Hamilton’s decision to keep his family close at the top of the racing world has been influential. “That was a lot of work,” Nicolas said. “From a parent’s point of view, being close to your kids – that’s a must. It’s a huge ask of him and for the years that he could afford to build a team.”
Part of his progress has been thanks to a modicum of luck, Nicolas believes. “By luck he ended up in the McLaren that he grew up racing. My dad was lucky, too. He was with Williams when he won the world championship, and Mercedes of course, but when he went to Williams – somebody wouldn’t have taken him.
“I think he would have struggled a lot more to get the wins that he did. It’s not enough just to be lucky. He was in the right car at the right time.”