Lewis Hamilton will be announced as the new driver for McLaren this week. He is coming to McLaren from Mercedes AMG Petronas, the team he has led since the 2008 season, where he won three of his five Formula One world titles. He is also the fifth driver to win more than one race with two different teams. Could this be one of the best pairings ever for the McLaren stable? Everyone will have their own opinions on that, but one name, (at least among me) springs to mind immediately.
“Nicolas Hamilton,” I ask Nicholas Hamilton. “Did you see that?”
He shakes his head.
That wasn’t very good, I say.
“My brother was just driving off with his race car,” Nicolas says, laughing. “He’s, like, ‘Nicolas, go film it. It’s some idiot coming to get a camera.’ So I turned the car onto its side, and the whole car exploded — it was destroyed. A couple people were hurt, but nothing too serious. Just glass.”
He pauses, and adds, “It was interesting. Yeah, just interesting.”
Lewis won a difficult Grand Prix at Silverstone earlier this year in an otherwise disappointing season for his team. It was a difficult month for Lewis, too. In early July, he and girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger called it quits after eight years together. This is the second time Lewis has announced his personal life has ended. In 2012, he started dating pop singer and actress Rita Ora after the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, and three months later, they had broken up. Their public break-up seemed to be particularly heartbreaking for Lewis. In an interview on his website, he gave his own reasons for splitting:
“I got to the point where I honestly thought it would be easier on her if I wasn’t in a relationship with her. I got quite tired of wondering if it would be easier on her if I was single.”
Only one thing is certain: Lewis and Nicole are not together any more.
Nicolas Hamilton is a well-known driver in his own right. He has been a test driver for McLaren, and now that he is the son of one of the most famous Formula One drivers of all time, he is one of the most recognizable faces in the sport. His father, Michael, has been winning races since 1979 and has dominated every Formula One generation to come since.
Nicolas Hamilton grew up in Monaco. The cars might look similar to his old man’s, but Nicolas said Lewis now sets the pace in terms of speed and practice.
“Everyone knows there’s a big gap,” he said. “But, you know, you just have to try to emulate him. Then you have to try to run close to him and get information on how he does things. So I’m trying to learn as much as I can.”
Nicolas Hamilton and his brother, Lewis, are scheduled to compete together in Monaco. He hasn’t thought about sharing the track with his brother, but he said they are both going to try and compete.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be good enough,” he said. “I’ll just try to get the most out of it as possible. I’m looking forward to having my first podium with him. It would be awesome.”