“Michael Schumacher: The definitive record” (Christopher Hilton, 2007)

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Lewis Hamilton has driven 17 Grands Prix so far and had eight books written about him. At that rate, by the time he’s racked up a tally to rival Michael Schumacher’s 250, vast swathes of forests will have been plundered to record his every movement in microscopic detail.

Many would question the point of having eight different books about a driver whose F1 career is not over yet. But perhaps Schumacher’s not done yet. He will make a second appearance in testing next week in addition to his recent karting victory and approaching appearance in the Race of Champions.

Perhaps this books claim to be “The definitive race-by-race record of his Grand Prix career may end up being out of date?

Christopher Hilton is one of the most prolific F1 authors and was one of the first to put out a biography of Schumacher following the end of the German’s career this time twelve months ago.

This hefty and well illustrated 350-page hardback volume covers each of Schumacher’s Grand Prix appearances in very close detail – much like Hilton’s similar book on Ayrton Senna, “His Complete Racing Record.”

Hilton has an unusual style that I suspect may win over some readers as much as it alienates others. He tends to latch onto peculiar key phrases and lean on them very heavily.

The reportage is straight, factual, more like a corporate press release than something you would read out of choice. Schumacher’s blunt analyses of the various events are rehashed with little or no interpretation.

This is a significant problem because you can’t write 350 pages about Schumacher’s 250 races without mentioning the odd dodgy moment. But whether it’s the collision with Damon Hill in Adelaide or parking up at Rascasse in qualifying, all are passed by with a kind of glib disinterest that suggests the author thinks it would be wrong to impugn the integrity of a man who won 91 Grands Prix.

To be fair, Schumacher’s greatest moments are passed by with a similar lack of excitement. Thus a remarkable career is rendered entirely unremarkable.

None of this will matter much to ardent Schumi-philes who will lap it all up. The book is rich in statistical detail and the layout and photography are of a high standard.

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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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7 comments on ““Michael Schumacher: The definitive record” (Christopher Hilton, 2007)”

  1. “Unremarkable?” “Lack of excitement?” To be fair, could you name any other driver in the last decade and this, who could pull that Catalunya 96 proverbial “walk on water” win in a dodgy John Barnard car, or, for that matter 4 stop French GP in 2004? Let me assure you, there’s none. Those wins are not alone. There are wins aplenty, where Schumacher rose above the abilities of the car, to win a fair few races. Which is what won him 7 championships. How is any of all that unremarkable? Weren’t rules changed especially to counter him and Ferrari(Mosley’s words not mine), in 2003 onwards to 2005(when they finally paid off)? Isn’t that remarkable, that one man and the team he worked for, they managed their jobs so efficiently, that people had to disadvantage them in order to be competitive? Also, Brazil 2006, where he had a puncture twice, he still drove like the devil was on his tail. Then, it was Kimi, who he overtook in turn one from very far behind. Not any lesser driver, for which ITV commentators(James Allen) were making Hamilton a hero out of.

    We all wished when we were kids, that “it’d be nice, if we were there when Fangio lived(a 5 times champion)!” Here’s a man, who’s racing prowess is beyond any which we have seen and what do you have to say about that? It is regrettable that you treat Schumacher, a 7 time champion with such disdain. Would it have had helped, had he won in a British car or if he were British? It seems that it would, which is rather sad.

  2. Sri, the comments are a review of the book, not Schumi’s career…in Keith’s opinion the book does not do justice to all the things you mentioned. Does he not say “remarkable career”, “greatest moments”?

    Try reading what’s there instead of interpreting things as a xenophobic attack on your hero.

  3. Indeed: I didn’t say his career was unremarkable and I didn’t treat it with disdain. I said the book wasn’t any good.

  4. Geez… my bad fellas! Keith… please delete the comments if you could!

    Robert, would you not agree, that Schumacher, is sometimes not given his due? Which is what i find very saddening.

  5. I tend to agree with Sri that Schumacher is not always given his due. It is so tiring that people always refer to his dodgy moments in the same breath as his greatest moments instead of seeing his greatness for what it is. Which driver has not had a dodgy moment? Micheal at least made it exciting. Imagine how boring F1 would be without the dodgy moments ( sort of like it is now ). He really deserves more praise and for people to let go of their anti-schumitism! I for one would love it if he could return and show all these girls currently driving what its all about.

  6. I’d rather suffer through 10 books about Schumacher than 1 about Hamilton!

  7. Two more books this weekend – another of the Hamiltons (almost done!) and one more…

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