“Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story” (Mark Hughes, 2007)

??Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story?? (Mark Hughes, 2007)Another week, another Lewis Hamilton biography.

But wait – this one is actually pretty good.

In fact “The Full Story”, written by top F1 scribe Mark Hughes, is the first biography of Hamilton I’d actually recommend reading.

The hype surrounding Lewis Hamilton is suffocating. Many comments are left on these pages by people claiming the media attention to Hamilton is putting them off him.

And so it’s easy to write off any attempt to write a biography of the 22 year-old as an obvious cash-in. It’s not an unreasonable point of view.

But that alone doesn’t mean you can’t write a decent book about Lewis Hamilton and that’s exactly what we have here.

Mark Hughes is a regular contributor for Autosport and, though I’ve often admired his work, I did wonder how well his pithy style would work in a 280-page book instead of a half-page column.

In fact it reads very well in its own right, and vastly better than the other Hamilton titles I’ve read (links below).

Hughes gives a wider perspective that other biographers of Hamilton don’t offer – whether it’s the frank admission that you need more than talent to progress through the junior ranks of motor racing (and that’s what McLaren provided), to questioning what other F1 drivers thought of a rookie challenging for the championship (they didn’t like it).

He gives the controversial points of the 2007 a thorough treatment and isn’t afraid to point out where Hamilton may have transgressed – such as the infamous Hungaroring debacle.

As good as it is, it does fall into the same traps that claim all of its rivals. There’s no original comment from Hamilton himself (although he’s done his homework and sourced some interesting remarks that escaped wider media attention).

And you have to ask whether it’s really necessary to produce a biography of a driver so early in his F1 career. Perhaps not. But if in ten year’s time he’s ascended the heights many expect him to scale, perhaps then we’ll see things differently.

If you are thinking of getting a Hamilton book, don’t be duped into thinking the official book will automatically be the best option. “The Full Story” is a far better choice.

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11 comments on “Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story” (Mark Hughes, 2007)

  1. carlos said on 18th November 2007, 11:45

    Hamilton, Hamilton…Hamilton everywhere…

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th November 2007, 12:48

    Carlos, would I be right to assume that you live in Spain? If so, are there any Spanish biographies of Fernando Alonso?

    I don’t think there’s any in English and Alonso is credited with helping make F1 much more popular in Spain.

  3. carlos said on 18th November 2007, 14:44

    Keith, yes, I am spaniard, I live in Spain, and yes, there is spanish biographies about Alonso, “Alonso, a star”, “Alonso, the fight”,”Alonso, the prince”, “Alonso, the champion”, cover in “F1 official guide, 2005 season”… but these books were published when he got a title, not before.
    Is not there books about Alonso in UK? I do think it is a good indicative about the real interest of UK on f1, nothing about a spanish double champion, a lot about a british driver on his first year.
    I can not understand the need to read about a young man who has won nothing, maybe all the people deserves his own book, but so much books about a person, again, winner of nothing…

    I do understand you are not the publisher of these books, and you have to write about all what happens in f1 world, these books included, but all this it seems to me as an absurd feedback without end, just people, writers, publishers, trying to get some money repeating the same words about Hamilton on a story already well known for everybody. What is the new about him in these books? All the world outside UK, is irritated about the treatment as f1 prince given to Hamilton, does not he need to win the crown before?

    I want not to talk about the though in Spain, about Hamilton has not won anything, but he has impeded Alonso to win his 3rd championship, LH 109 with well known help, FA 109 without help and with Hungaroring…

    I want to forget, but each time I see a british f1 page, just I find Smiley Hamilton telling how much good his behaviour has been toward Evil Moaner Alonso.

    Well, maybe I am irritable today, Hamilton is still a skillfull driver, and I want to forget all about this year.

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th November 2007, 15:20

    I think it’s worth remembering many of the Hamilton books will have been commissioned when it looked very much like he was going to win the championship.

    And of course if there was a book about Alonso in English I would definitely review it.

  5. oliver said on 18th November 2007, 20:33

    Oh! Carlos.

  6. sorry too hear that the bio about Lewis upsets you Carlos – I like Lewis on the track – but these books for people who havent won yet are an attempt to get money when the product is new and fresh in the public’s mind.
    That there is not a bio on Alonso a proven double world champion is something that maybe Keith with his contacts can maybe redress? – or have a go yourself by way of translation – after this year it would be good to hear his point of view

  7. Wow Carlos!

    That rant was AWESOME!!!

    I know how you feel.

  8. Journeyer said on 19th November 2007, 10:27

    Mega rant! It’s more of the media’s fault than Lewis’. Anything to make a buck. But it still doesn’t absolve Lewis.

    Anyone thought that maybe FA doesn’t have a bio in English because the people who speak and write English (i.e. the media) tend to be more interested in Lewis than Fernando?

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th November 2007, 11:02

    I think it’s partly because of poor coverage of F1 generally and poor media relations on the part of many F1 drivers. There aren’t any really good biographies of Mika Hakkinen or Jacques Villeneuve, or even Damon Hill.

    But I’m sure there are people who can tell us why it’s all Lewis Hamilton’s fault.

  10. To blame or not to. To flame or not to. Lewis, a fast rookie, who spilled over a lead of 17 points, going into the last 2 races remaining of the 2007 championship. He deserves acclaim. He won 4 races in his rookie year. I do not blame him for trying to make a quick buck or two. Most of the people would do that. Let’s be honest. He’s doing what most of us would have done. Well on a personal note, i wouldn’t, but that doesn’t matter. It’s about Lewis. He is only human. Let him be.

    The British media, however, they deserve a stick. Well deserved and after coverage of year 2007, well earned. All the publications carried a picture of Hamilton in tears, after Interlagos was over. Well, will be offending, if i were to wish to see a picture of the champion. Also, spy-gate. The coverage was very very pro McLaren, not even neutral. Not by any means. Yes, i would say, the media, they deserve a stick. They have truly let us (global fans of the sport) down. I would like to remind them, if i had the opportunity that there is TV audience outside of the UK too.

    Hamilton, hmm can’t really fault him for trying to make a buck. Well, its about his life and is his life. So let it rest people. However, if someone were to say, his behaviour is suspect, i’d rather hear it. With that, i might, well, i will agree. What with Hungary, that Spa rant about Alonso blocking(See what he does when he starts from pole, a schumi-like chop), Fuji safety car incident, Interlagos tyres fiasco. The guy did not own upto any of his mistakes. After all that is what makes us human. Which may have endeared him to his fellow colleagues(other F1 drivers) too. Some of whom have spoken about him on record and not very favorably.

    Anyways, let’s wish Lewis well, with his biography, sorry, biographies. Also, let’s(lewis’s fans) hope for his sake, next year’s Macca isn’t a damp squid. We all remember what happened to a certain Mr. Button, don’t we?

  11. Godness, how high Lewis is fliying wiht so little wings, I´m affraid, sooner or latter, he is going to crash severely the ground of reality.

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