Best gifts for F1 fans: Books (2/5)

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Here’s the second part of the guide to F1 gifts.

Yesterday I picked out the best F1 videos – today it’s the turn of biographies – and there were plenty of new ones in 2007.

Of course one man dominates the shelves at the moment – Lewis Hamilton – but there are also some excellent books on Jackie Stewart, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan that are worth a look.

Lewis Hamilton

The unprecedented interest in rookie F1 driver Lewis Hamilton has led eight publishers to rush out books on the Briton in time for Christmas. But which Lewis Hamilton biography is best?

Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story

I’ve read seven of them so far and I can tell you the best is definitely Mark Hughes’s ??Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story??, which offers plenty of detail on his pre-F1 years, some revealing interviews with people who knew the younger Hamilton, and a frank and impartial account of his brief time in F1 to date, right up to the end of the season. (Read the full review of ??Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story??)

Lewis Hamilton: A portrait of Britain’s new F1 hero

Almost as good is fellow Autosport journalist Andrew van de Burgt’s “A Portrait of Britain’s New F1 Hero”. The large format and plentiful use of pictures make it a good purchase for a younger fan, but van de Burgt’s unrivalled insight into Hamilton’s rise through the lower classes of motor racing make it just as good a read for adults as well. (Read the full review of ??A Portrait of Britain’s New F1 Hero??)

More Lewis Hamilton biographies

“Lewis Hamilton: My Story” will surely out-sell all the others but I wouldn’t recommend it. It may have the ‘official’ stamp on it but it reads like a press conference and offers little of interest to the reader.

Brian Belton’s “Lewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True” was written so early it pre-dated McLaren’s exclusion from the constructors’ championship and Gareth Rogers’ “The Story So Far” is completely mis-named as it finishes at the Belgian Grand Prix.

I’ve not reviewed Ian Stafford’s “New Kid on the Grid” or Bruce Jones’s “The People’s Champion” yet, but there’s nothing to make either of them stand out, and I can’t pass judgement on Frank Worrall’s “Lewis Hamilton:The Biography” because I haven’t read it yet…

Lewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True
Lewis Hamilton: New Kid on the Grid
Lewis Hamilton: The Story So Far
Lewis Hamilton: The People’s Champion (ITV SPORT)
Lewis Hamilton: The Biography

More F1 biographies

Winning Is Not Enough: The Autobiography (Jackie Stewart)

Hamilton may be popular but if you’re looking for an F1 biography with a bit more substance you can’t do better than this. Jackie Stewart’s autobiography is brilliantly written and absolutely packed with stories – he’s even admitted he should have done it in two volumes.

It may look pricey but don’t overlook the one-hour DVD that comes with it. It’s packed with insight and absolutely tons of first-hand material, almost worth the asking price on its own.

Perhaps the best recommendation is that this book has been purchased by more readers than any other title. How’s that for a stamp of approval? (Read the full review of ??Winning is not enough??)

Michael Schumacher: The Edge of Greatness (James Allen)

A more honest and inquisitive book on Michael Schumacher you could not hope for. It may have shortcomings as a complete biography of the man, but it asks questions and gives answers that few writers have the courage to grasp.

Backed up by some candid interviews with the men closest to Schumacher, this is the best biography of the great and controversial champion so far. (Read the full review of ??Michael Schumacher: The Edge of Greatness??)

Michael Schumacher: The Definitive Race-by-race Record of His Grand Prix Career (Christopher Hilton)

This only landed on my doormat this morning so I’ve not had a chance to read it yet!

But it packs over 350 pages dedicated to Michael Schumacher’s entire F1 career with every race analysed in detail and brought to life with a wealth of colourful photographs.

“It is What It Is: The Autobiography (David Coulthard)”

It may have a peculiar title and the timing seems odd – Coulthard’s career may be nearing its end but it’s not over yet – but this is a decent autobiography and a sight better than most of the books on Lewis Hamilton.

It gained a few headlines earlier in the year as Coulthard admits in it that he dieted so hard when karting that he developed an eating disorder. It’s frank and honest, and he has something interesting things to say about his time at McLaren as well. (Read the full review of ??It is what it is??)

An Independent Man: The Autobiography (Eddie Jordan)

Another long-serving F1 personality with some interesting tales to tell. Jordan will no doubt be accused of giving a selective account of history in some parts of this book, but it’s not totally one-sided, and Maurice Hamilton’s writing is more than up to scratch. (Read the full review of ??An Independent Man??)

Graham Hill Scrapbook 1929 -1966 (Philip Porter)

Philip Porter began his series of ‘coffee table’ books on Great British F1 drivers with Stirling Moss, and has now moved on to two-times champion Graham Hill.

The book is packed with first-hand photographs, diary entries and more provided by Graham’s widow Bette, showing the man in action on and off the track. A superb collection of material. (Read the full review of “Graham Hill Scrapbook 1929-1966”)

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Best gifts for F1 fans: Books (2/5)”

  1. Hello Keith,
    No comments on this article and frankly I jumped right over it for good reason……..the book cover you choose to use with Lewis hamilton’s face on it……ANYONE but him……. we’re just plain sick and tired of Lewis Hamilton.

  2. I know there’s a balance to be struck and I try to make sure there aren’t too many posts on Hamilton at any one given time. Admittedly that got quite hard at the end of the season when there were so many stories floating around about him…

    I’m sure you’d enjoy the Stewart biography though.

  3. I’m reading the Stewart autobiography at the moment (having borrowed it out of the local library…) and it is excellent. It’s a book that I can really get my teeth into and gives a really good insight into the era in which Jackie raced (I haven’t quite got as far as the post-racing bit).

  4. Don’t worry if Max did read this I’m sure he’d have called me a halfwit by now.

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