Lewis mania

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In a bid to save us covering a Lewis Hamilton book every month from now until the summer, here they are all together…

You may find this hard to believe, but as Motor Sport went to press there were no fewer than seven books about Lewis Hamilton on sale, with another in the offing. Yes, seven works about the young man from Stevenage who nearly won the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship. So how to choose between them?

One is written by the man himself, with a little help from highly experienced Formula 1 journalist Tim Collings, and this will be the chosen tome for many.

At the other end of the scale is the book by Frank Worrall, a contributor to The Sun newspaper, and the angle here is Hamilton’s instant stardom.

The clear winner from the other five, for me, is the offering from Mark Hughes, partly because it’s well written, partly because he has done some research and because Hughes has attended every Grand Prix this year. The book, like his journalism, is very readable and tells a good short story. And this is the point – the story of Hamilton is short and it’s early for a biography. That said, the chap has packed a lot into just 22 years and his impact on F1 cannot be underestimated. I enjoyed the early chapters, Hughes neatly setting the scene with some family background and some perceptive interviews with those who know Hamilton well.

The other four are much of a muchness, with Andrew van de Burgt the runner-up because he knew Hamilton before he reached the top level of the sport. The problem is, this book looks and feels like a compilation from Autosport magazine and dwells too much on the 2007 season. But van de Burgt has some interesting insights into Hamilton’s career before he reached the highest echelon.

The remaining three, by Ian Stafford, Brian Belton and Gareth Rogers, don’t really add very much to what we already know and certainly they have not the authority of my winner in this group. In their favour, Stafford’s book has lots of nice pictures, Belton’s is well written and put together while Rogers’ contribution is a handy and reasonably priced paperback.

To have such a choice at this early stage seems a little over the top and creates an immediately crowded market. The book that will be interesting, and hopefully revealing, will be the one that Hamilton authorises after his retirement. For now, take your pick from seven. RW

The Full Story, by Mark Hughes, Icon Books, ISBN 978 1840468 55 7, £16.99
A Portrait Of Britain’s New F1 Hero, by Andrew van de Burgt, Haynes Publishing, ISBN 978 1 84425 480 4, £14.99
New Kid On The Grid, by Ian Stafford, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN 978 1845 963385, £16.99
The Story So Far, by Gareth Rogers, Tempus Publishing, ISBN 978 0 7524 4480 2, £8.99
My Story, by Lewis Hamilton, Harpersport Publishing, ISBN 978 0 00 727005 7, £18.99
The Biography, by Frank Worrall, John Blake Publishing, ISBN 978 1 84454 543 8, £14.99
A Dream Comes True, by Brian Belton, Pennant Books, ISBN 978 1 906015 07 7, £17.99