My brother Lewis Hamilton made £24m while I sat crying & eating pot noodles as gambling debts forced me to sell my car

SITTING inside a dirty room, unwashed and slurping a Pot Noodle, Nicolas Hamilton broke down in tears before his computer screen. 

The 32-year-old – the half-brother of seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis – had frittered away thousands on gambling in a six-month binge and spiralled into a deep depression that left him on the brink of suicide.

Lewis Hamilton helped to inspire his half-brother Nicolas to get into racing
15

Lewis Hamilton helped to inspire his half-brother Nicolas to get into racingCredit: Instagram / @lewishamilton

Nicolas says he and Lewis remain each other's 'No1 fans'
15

Nicolas says he and Lewis remain each other’s ‘No1 fans’Credit: Getty

The 32-year-old made history at the 2015 BTCC racing against able-bodied drivers


15

The 32-year-old made history at the 2015 BTCC racing against able-bodied driversCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
What started as a £2 bet on Arsenal scoring developed into an “all-consuming” addiction to online casinos and blackjack that rarely saw him leave his room in 2017.

Two years earlier Nicolas, who has a form of cerebral palsy, had made history as the first disabled driver to go up against able-bodied racers in the British Touring Car Championship.

He was forced to sell off his “pride and joy”, a midnight blue Mercedes C63 gifted to him by Lewis, to settle a hefty tax bill that he couldn’t afford due to his gambling and “naivety” about finances.

In his memoir Now That I Have Your Attention, Nicolas speaks out about that dark time, which left him on the verge of ending his life.

He wrote: “I felt so ashamed, using this amazing gift to pay my tax bill.

“It felt like I had practically stolen the money from my brother and I have never forgiven myself for that.

“It destroyed me. I got a real wake-up call. I had no way of going forward because I’d lost everything.

“I was stuck. I had a balcony at my flat and I was thinking what would I do if I just jumped off it.”
Inside glamorous life of Lewis Hamilton’s brother Nic with racing career and Instagram model girlfriend
Nicolas’ struggles came three years into Lewis’ racing career with Mercedes, in 2017, when he was paid £24million a year – not including funds from sponsorships and endorsements.

Yet he felt unable to confide in his half-brother, or his parents, and relied on daily calls to Samaritans over a difficult two-week period.

Nicolas has since overcome his addiction – even able to take a trip to Las Vegas casinos recently without having a flutter – and says he’s grateful that “gambling is no longer an issue”.

Recalling his difficult moments, he told The Times: “I wanted more of the winnings – and the losing didn’t really deter me. It just got me in a cycle.

Nicolas followed half-brother Lewis into racing but says he is always 'compared' to the F1 world champion
15

Nicolas followed half-brother Lewis into racing but says he is always ‘compared’ to the F1 world championCredit: Instagram

Nicolas was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy at 18 months old
15

Nicolas was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy at 18 months oldCredit: Instagram

It was Lewis who recognised Nicolas' talent on a driving simulator
15

It was Lewis who recognised Nicolas’ talent on a driving simulatorCredit: Instagram
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it — I just wanted to go back to my computer. The whole day would go quite easily.

“I could see it was a problem but I was too far in. I was scared to stop. I’d lost so much money that I felt like, if I stopped, I was in a hole that I wouldn’t get out of.”

After admitting all to his parents, Nicolas says they were “supportive” and “felt sorry for me”.

He’s never spoken to Lewis about selling the Mercedes, which was bought for him as a surprise 24th birthday present.

‘Lewis spurred me on’

Overcoming gambling addiction was just one of many struggles Nicolas has battled throughout his life.

In 1992, he was born two months premature and spent the first six weeks of his life battling to survive in intensive care.

At 18 months old, Nicolas was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, which affects his balance and muscle movement in the lower half of his body. Doctors predicted he would never be able to walk or run.

Even at my most vulnerable moment, when I was in the midst of experiencing the scariest, closest-to-death moment of my life, people will still compare me with him

Nicolas Hamilton

Gambling addiction: five warning signs

IS someone you know gambling more than they can afford to lose? Are you concerned they may be addicted? If so, read GamCare’s list of five signs to take note of.

1) Being withdrawn – Have they stopped socialising? Addicts can lose interest in their usual activities or hobbies. Often they choose not to spend time with family or friends – in favour of staying at home – and when they do they may constantly check their phone.

2) Mood change – Are they acting differently? There could be noticeable changes in their mood and behaviour, which could include looking worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason.

3) Sleeping problems – Do they constantly seem tired? Chasing losses and losing money can cause sleeping issues. Anxiety or constant worry can lead plays to be up at all hours. Some gamblers play during the night, which can disturb their sleeping pattern.

4) Financial concerns – Has money gone missing from bank accounts or are they regularly short of money and need to borrow money? This could be a sign. Some feel pressure to take out loans to generate income.

5) Lying – Do they lie about what they do with their time? Many feel expected to provide for others. If they are hiding a gambling addiction they may be scared of their problem being found out and feel very low wrongly believing they have let people down.

Do these warning signs apply to your loved one? GamCare runs the National Gambling Helpline. Freephone 0808 8020 133 or talk via web chat at: www.gamcare.org.uk. They provide information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling. Advisers are available 24/7, every day of the year.

The disability meant much of his teens was spent in a wheelchair, which led to bullying from classmates.

He recalled them mimicking him while he attempted to walk with mobility aids and try to tip him over while in his wheelchair.

Nicolas told The Independent: “I didn’t have a voice or a purpose in school – a disabled boy and only person of colour in my school… kids did not want to be my friend. I was getting pulled back in my wheelchair and wasn’t able to fend for myself.”

Growing up, he had a strong bond with Lewis – admitting they “were super close” – and says his sibling would encourage him to take part in sports.

Nicolas said: “We used to go outside and play basketball. He didn’t treat me any differently, so we would still run races, which I obviously wouldn’t win.

“It never upset me. It actually spurred me on to either run faster or become more mobile. I don’t think that was his plan but it was the effect he had on me.”

Lewis encouraged Nicolas to learn wheelchair 'tricks' to deter bullies from picking on him
15

Lewis encouraged Nicolas to learn wheelchair ‘tricks’ to deter bullies from picking on himCredit: Instagram

Lewis in 2017 when he earned £24m a year with Mercedes
15

Lewis in 2017 when he earned £24m a year with MercedesCredit: Alamy

Nicolas set a personal best last year, placing sixth in a BTCC race
15

Nicolas set a personal best last year, placing sixth in a BTCC raceCredit: Alamy
Similarly, his parents instilled resilience, regularly telling him to “brush yourself off” after falls while walking and encouraging him to be independent and strong.

Legs ‘like mush’

At 16 years old, Nicolas’ life changed forever after a rude interaction in 2008 that encouraged him to work even harder than before to no longer need to use his wheelchair.

He was travelling abroad to watch Lewis in a race with his mum when a lady at an airport check-in counter, refused to address him directly and instead spoke to his mum.

“She just asked my mum whether I needed assistance or help,” Nicolas recalled during an interview with The Independent last year.

Lewis has never put a penny into my motorsport

Nicolas

“I had all the hormones of a teenager wanting to be a man. I was growing a beard. I wanted to talk to girls and go to the pub.

“But I’d become lazy and I was in a wheelchair because it was easier for me. It was hard work to walk around.

“Able-bodied people weren’t looking at me in the way I wanted to be perceived. That was when I got out of my wheelchair. And I haven’t been back in.”

Nicolas starting regular strength training and physio to help him walk – despite it causing neck, back, pelvic and muscular pain – and says before his legs “were like mush”.

He told The Times: “Pain will always be a part of my day. I do not take anything for it. I learn to deal with it.”

At 16, Nicolas says his legs were 'like mush' but now he can walk unaided and no longer uses his wheelchair
15

At 16, Nicolas says his legs were ‘like mush’ but now he can walk unaided and no longer uses his wheelchairCredit: Getty

He's focused on motivational speaking alongside his racing career
15

He’s focused on motivational speaking alongside his racing careerCredit: Instagram

Lewis celebrating with Nicolas at the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix back in 2008
15

Lewis celebrating with Nicolas at the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix back in 2008Credit: Getty

‘Bankrolled’ fury

Nicolas was encouraged to go into racing by his brother at 18 after noticing he was “good on a simulator” and says he “planted the seed in my mind”.

In 2011, he made his racing debut at the Renault Clio Cup in a modified car and four years later, became the first disabled driver to compete in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

Despite his personal achievements, Nicolas has regularly been compared to his famous brother including after a near-fatal crash in 2011 after he hit a tyre barrier at 100mph on the racecourse at Thruxton Circuit, in Hampshire.

While being pulled out of the car, which had smoke coming from the bonnet and engine, he recalls a marshal telling him: “Oh dear, Lewis isn’t going to be impressed with this, is he?”

Nicolas, who described it as “the most insensitive comment”, added: “Even at my most vulnerable moment, when I was in the midst of experiencing the scariest, closest-to-death moment of my life, people will still compare me with him.”

It has been really hard being related to Lewis and trying to carve my own career in motorsport

Nicolas

In April last year, Nicolas recorded his best finish to date – sixth place during a BTCC race at Donnington Park – which helped to silence the critics who said he was only driving because of his famous brother.

“To come across the line with that result, after everything I’ve been through – best day of my life,” he said.

“To finally shut the critics up on 23 April was the best thing I could ever wish for. It was a load of relief and a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

Nicolas has faced nepotism comments, online trolling and bullying throughout his racing career due to beliefs that his famous sibling helped him financially or with connections.

Last year, he defiantly stated: “Lewis has never put a penny into my motorsport.” And has since addressed it in his memoir.

Nicolas's memoir Now That I Have Your Attention comes out this month
15

Nicolas’s memoir Now That I Have Your Attention comes out this monthCredit: Instagram

He described Lewis as 'the best human being to ever sit behind the steering wheel of a car'
15

He described Lewis as ‘the best human being to ever sit behind the steering wheel of a car’Credit: Getty
He wrote: “I know pretty much everyone presumes that Lewis bankrolls me in my motorsport career, that he pays for everything and provides endless opportunities because of his wealth and success in the sport, but it’s just not true; it is also something that I would never want or accept.”

Nicolas revealed his father Anthony financially supported his first season as a driver but since then, he has had to find the funds himself.

To do so, the 32-year-old has taken on a number of jobs including working for racing video games companies, where he spends up to eight hours analysing virtual cars.

Nicolas is also a public speaker – working for nine different UK agencies – and has other one-off gigs including representing MGM as an ambassador at last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.


15

🏁 Complete F1 2024 race calendar – details on every Grand Prix and start time this year 🏁 

He remains passionate about racing and hopes to someday compete again after parting ways with Team Hard last year but first, he has to raise the money to compete.

Nicolas explained: “I’d love to be back on the grid and I think I deserve to be but I’ve got to find half a million pounds.”

Despite being compared to his F1 racing champion brother, whcih he calls “hard”, there is no sibling rivalry.

Instead, Nicolas credits Lewis – who he describes as “the best human being to ever sit behind the steering wheel of a car” – as someone who helped to make him the man he is today.

Nicolas adds: “He’s still a massive reason why I’m as strong as I am and why I’m out of my wheelchair. I’m still his No 1 fan…

Related Posts

King Charles’ ‘homemade’ gift for Prince Archie’s 5th birthday revealed after Meghan Markle ‘bans expensive presents’

KING Charles may not have seen his grandson Archie on his fifth birthday, but that didn’t stop him from sending him a sweet ‘homemade’ gift.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle likely…

Princess Kate ‘excited’ by landmark report that could boost UK economy by £45bn annually

Leading businesses have endorsed Princess Kate’s prioritisation of early childhood in a bid to deliver a rallying call to fellow business leaders across the country. Princess Kate…

Inside Archie’s lavish 5th birthday with cake made by Meghan, superhero theme & Hamleys toy from Charles, expert claims

PRINCE ARCHIE turns five today and he will likely be celebrating with his family in Montecito, California. The Sun spoke exclusively to royal commentator Ingrid Seward about how Prince Harry and Meghan…

Meghan & Harry should take Archie & Lilibet to meet cancer-stricken Charles – it would give him huge boost, says expert

KING Charles would get a real “boost” if Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their children went to visit him, it has been claimed. Chris Ship, ITV’s Royal Editor,…

Royal title Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘refused to use’ for Archie after it ‘bothered them’

FROM the moment he was born, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have done everything to protect their young son, Archie.But few know the lengths Prince Harry…

Meghan & Harry declined invite to Archie’s godfather’s wedding ‘to avoid overshadowing bride & making event too awkward’

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly declined an invite to Archie’s godfather’s wedding to “avoid overshadowing the day”.Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, will marry Olivia Henson, 31,…