“Lewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True” (Brian Belton, 2007)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

?????ǣLewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True?????? (Brian Belton, 2007)Yes, that’s right, it’s the first biography of Lewis Hamilton and it’s out before the season’s even finished.

It’s written by Brian Belton, a youth worker who met a young Hamilton and has kept an eye on the British star’s career for more than ten years.

He says he’s written the book from a fan’s perspective – but is it just too early to write a book about an F1 driver with only 11 starts to his name?

Five books on Hamilton are expected to hit the shelves before Xmas and this is the first of them. It tells the story of Hamilton’s path to Formula 1 and his first nine races up to and including the British Grand Prix.

Each chapter advances the story of his maiden F1 season and his progress through the junior categories. The narrative flows well and never falls into the trap of mindlessly repeating the results of race after race after race.

The author met Hamilton early in the British driver’s career and it is a shame that more isn’t made of these early sightings. There is a huge appetite for accounts of Hamilton’s early career – you only have to look at the popularity of videos of his kart races and those memorable GP2 moments.

Belton also points out that he refers to Hamilton in his youth work – it would have been nice to read more about that.

No-one expects any of these early Hamilton books to give much insight into his time in Formula 1 – it’s much too recent and, as Belton notes, McLaren were managing Hamilton’s media relations very tightly even before the espionage scandal kicked off.

But the passages on his early career often left me wanting more. Belton rightly points out that the details of Hamilton’s karting career are often glibly re-stated with no importance attached to just how impressive he was – but I still would have liked more information than there was.

There are a few irritations of style that grated with me – some alliteration-heavy nicknames for drivers and a few nasty typos that the publishers should have weeded out.

Typos I can live with, but what I really didn’t like were the brief passages re-hashed from tabloid sources about people Hamilton may or may not have dated.

It’s difficult not to be cynical about any book coming out so early in Hamilton’s career. “A Dream Comes True” isn’t a bad book and it will serve young new fans coming to the sport for the first time very well – though perhaps they would want better explanations for some of the F1 terminology. I was hoping for a lot more detail on his early career.

It unavoidably ends halfway through the middle of this year and not knowing the conclusion to the season does give it an anticlimactic ending. Perhaps a later edition may have the chance to add a chapter and tie up the loose ends.

Is it worth running out and buying? Let’s wait and see what the other four Hamilton biographers serve up first…

“Lewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True” is published on September 11th, 2007.

Pennant Books
2007
9781906015077

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