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Niki Lauda: The Biography

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The most comprehensive and detailed biography of Formula One legend Nick Lauda ever published, as told by Maurice Hamilton, who knew him for more than forty years. From the famous rivalry with James Hunt in the 1970s, as depicted in the film Rush, to working with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Lauda's career helped define modern F1. In 1975, Lauda became world champion for th The most comprehensive and detailed biography of Formula One legend Nick Lauda ever published, as told by Maurice Hamilton, who knew him for more than forty years. From the famous rivalry with James Hunt in the 1970s, as depicted in the film Rush, to working with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Lauda's career helped define modern F1. In 1975, Lauda became world champion for the first time. Driving for Ferrari, he looked to retain his title in 1976 and was dominating the campaign ahead of James Hunt in his McLaren. Then, on 1 August, he was involved in a horrendous crash at the Nurburgring and was badly burned and in hospital he was given the last rites, so severe were his injuries. Remarkably, six weeks later, he was back racing again, determined to show he could still compete. As they came to the final race of the season in Japan, Lauda held a narrow lead in the championship, but in appalling weather conditions, Lauda withdrew from the race, while Hunt went on to secure the points he needed to become world champion. It was high-speed drama at its best. Lauda came back to win the title again in 1977 and then, having temporarily retired, he won it for a third time in 1984, driving for McLaren. When he finally finished as an F1 driver, he started his own airline, before he returned to the sport in various management roles, latterly as chairman of Mercedes, where he helped in the negotiations to bring Lewis Hamilton to the team.  Maurice Hamilton, who first met Lauda in 1971, draws together the remarkable story of one of the greatest stars in Formula One history. Based on interviews with friends and family, rival drivers and those he worked with later in his career, Niki Lauda is a superb and definitive tribute to a remarkable character, who died in May 2019 at the age of seventy.


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The most comprehensive and detailed biography of Formula One legend Nick Lauda ever published, as told by Maurice Hamilton, who knew him for more than forty years. From the famous rivalry with James Hunt in the 1970s, as depicted in the film Rush, to working with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Lauda's career helped define modern F1. In 1975, Lauda became world champion for th The most comprehensive and detailed biography of Formula One legend Nick Lauda ever published, as told by Maurice Hamilton, who knew him for more than forty years. From the famous rivalry with James Hunt in the 1970s, as depicted in the film Rush, to working with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Lauda's career helped define modern F1. In 1975, Lauda became world champion for the first time. Driving for Ferrari, he looked to retain his title in 1976 and was dominating the campaign ahead of James Hunt in his McLaren. Then, on 1 August, he was involved in a horrendous crash at the Nurburgring and was badly burned and in hospital he was given the last rites, so severe were his injuries. Remarkably, six weeks later, he was back racing again, determined to show he could still compete. As they came to the final race of the season in Japan, Lauda held a narrow lead in the championship, but in appalling weather conditions, Lauda withdrew from the race, while Hunt went on to secure the points he needed to become world champion. It was high-speed drama at its best. Lauda came back to win the title again in 1977 and then, having temporarily retired, he won it for a third time in 1984, driving for McLaren. When he finally finished as an F1 driver, he started his own airline, before he returned to the sport in various management roles, latterly as chairman of Mercedes, where he helped in the negotiations to bring Lewis Hamilton to the team.  Maurice Hamilton, who first met Lauda in 1971, draws together the remarkable story of one of the greatest stars in Formula One history. Based on interviews with friends and family, rival drivers and those he worked with later in his career, Niki Lauda is a superb and definitive tribute to a remarkable character, who died in May 2019 at the age of seventy.

30 review for Niki Lauda: The Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Morrison

    I bought this just after Niki`s death. I had a few bios’s on him already, but I just wanted to read a bit more about this great man once more. And the book did not let me down. The author Maurice has been around the circuits long enough to know Niki well and enjoy his company and it shows. This was written with a warmth and understanding of the late great Niki Lauda. There are many pages and words attached in this hardback, but it is filled with the warmth and character he represented to everyone. I bought this just after Niki`s death. I had a few bios’s on him already, but I just wanted to read a bit more about this great man once more. And the book did not let me down. The author Maurice has been around the circuits long enough to know Niki well and enjoy his company and it shows. This was written with a warmth and understanding of the late great Niki Lauda. There are many pages and words attached in this hardback, but it is filled with the warmth and character he represented to everyone. He only had one face, and he let everyone see it. There were no airs and graces about this man, and when he said something, he meant it. A rare trait in this day and age. Niki will be missed; for me, Mercedes as a team has not been the same without him sitting next to Toto, watching Lewis prove his mastery once more. A great man and this book is an excellent tribute to him.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matti Karjalainen

    Pitkän linjan formulatoimittaja Maurice Hamiltonin "Niki Lauda: Formulalegendan elämäkerta" (Minerva, 2020) pureutuu kolminkertaisen F1-maailmanmestarin vaiheisiin kilpa-autojen ratissa sekä lentoyhtiön omistajana. Lapsuutta ja nuoruutta tai ihmissuhteita käsitellään lähinnä sivulauseissa. Suorapuheisuudestaan tutun ja kaikenlaista turhaa lätinää inhonneen itävaltalaisen urassa riittää silti dramaattisia käänteitä kuin Monacon katuradalla. Laudan uralta muistetaan parhaiten kolme mestaruutta Ferr Pitkän linjan formulatoimittaja Maurice Hamiltonin "Niki Lauda: Formulalegendan elämäkerta" (Minerva, 2020) pureutuu kolminkertaisen F1-maailmanmestarin vaiheisiin kilpa-autojen ratissa sekä lentoyhtiön omistajana. Lapsuutta ja nuoruutta tai ihmissuhteita käsitellään lähinnä sivulauseissa. Suorapuheisuudestaan tutun ja kaikenlaista turhaa lätinää inhonneen itävaltalaisen urassa riittää silti dramaattisia käänteitä kuin Monacon katuradalla. Laudan uralta muistetaan parhaiten kolme mestaruutta Ferrarin ja McLarenin rateissa, mutta ehkä vieläkin paremmin hänen kakkossijansa Formula-1 -mestaruustaistossa vuonna 1976. Kauden aikana hallitseva maailmanmestari joutui hirvittävään onnettomuuteen vaarallisella Nürnburgringin radalla. Hän oli menettää henkensä saatuaan palovammoja ja hengitettyään myrkyllisiä kaasuja, mutta toipui ja palasi radalle puolitoista kuukautta myöhemmin. Maailmanmestaruuden voitti kuitenkin James Hunt, joka ratkaisi mestaruuden itselleen dramaattisessa Japanin osakilpailussa. Ron Howardin ohjaama leffa Rush (2013) aiheesta kannattaa muuten katsoa sekin! Lauda saavutti urallaan vielä kaksi mestaruutta, vuosina 1977 ja 1984. Jälkimmäisenä vuonna ykkössija irtosi pienimmällä mahdollisella erolla eli vain puolella pisteellä, vaikka Alain Prost olikin kuljettajista nopeampi (minkä Lauda myös suoraan myönsi). Vuosi 1986 jäi hänen viimeisekseen, minkä jälkeen hän keskittyi johtamaan nimeään kantavaa lento-yhtiötä. Vailla onnettomuuksia ei sekään sujunut. Lauda Airin omistaman koneen putoamista Thaimaassa v. 1991 käsitellään runsaasti. Lauda ehti vielä toimia useamman formula-tallin taustavaikuttajana ennen kuin menehtyi toukokuussa 2019. Hamilton kirjoittaa sujuvaa tekstiä ja kirja on melko nopealukuinen (mitenkäs muutenkaan), mutta en tiedä suosittelisinko kirjaa kuitenkaan sellaisille maallikkolukijoille, jotka eivät formulasirkusta tunne jo vähän entuudestaan.

  3. 5 out of 5

    colagatji

    a really decent one worth the time

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Bennett

    I’ve read a couple of biographies of the incredible Niki Lauda over the years, and they’ve been perfectly good telling of the main events of this amazing man’s life. But while this book dispenses with some of the familiar stories of Lauda’s early life and his love of driving, it’s written by someone with a deep understanding of the F1 world. This is a knowledgeable, deeply researched, and thoughtful biography. It’s informative and a great read - really enjoyed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    _jaszczurka__

    Z początku ciężko było mi wbić się w treść książki i zrozumieć to co było w niej napisane. Jednak książka napisana jest w dosyć przystępny sposób i bardzo dobrze pokazuje to co autor miał na myśli- chcąc pokazać Nikiego jako osobę dążącą do perfekcji, będącą do bólu szczerą, bardzo mądrą, pracowitą, uczącą się na swoich błędach. Książka nie tylko pokazuje historię 3-krotnego mistrza świata F1, ale także można zobaczyć jak świat motorsportu działał 60 lat temu, jak zmieniły się zasady, samochody, Z początku ciężko było mi wbić się w treść książki i zrozumieć to co było w niej napisane. Jednak książka napisana jest w dosyć przystępny sposób i bardzo dobrze pokazuje to co autor miał na myśli- chcąc pokazać Nikiego jako osobę dążącą do perfekcji, będącą do bólu szczerą, bardzo mądrą, pracowitą, uczącą się na swoich błędach. Książka nie tylko pokazuje historię 3-krotnego mistrza świata F1, ale także można zobaczyć jak świat motorsportu działał 60 lat temu, jak zmieniły się zasady, samochody, bezpieczeństwo, cała otoczka świata Formuły 1. Książka wzbogacona wypowiedziami osób, które miały przyjemność współpracować z Laudą dodaje wyjątkowość książce, ale także głównemu bohaterowi.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Igor

    I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Niki Lauda. As a fan of F1 I truly admire him as a driver for his courage and his determined character to pass over difficult situations. After reading this book I admire him as a person.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katheryn Thompson

    This isn't usually the type of book I go for, but I kept seeing that it was available when I was searching through the library catalogue for something to read, and I thought it might fill the gap between F1 races. It certainly did; talking through specific races, maintaining a good balance between technical details and more general observations, and taking the reader almost up to the present day. I've only started following F1 in the last few years, so I don't know that much about past drivers a This isn't usually the type of book I go for, but I kept seeing that it was available when I was searching through the library catalogue for something to read, and I thought it might fill the gap between F1 races. It certainly did; talking through specific races, maintaining a good balance between technical details and more general observations, and taking the reader almost up to the present day. I've only started following F1 in the last few years, so I don't know that much about past drivers and races. This book was perfect for filling a little of that gap too. Not really knowing anything about Niki Lauda, I was surprised to find that the book covered Lauda's career off the racetrack too, but Maurice Hamilton does an excellent job of tying it all together.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick Hoar

    For those of you with zero interest in motor racing and all blokey stuff, please don't fall into the mistaken belief that this is one of 'those' books. Yes, it is about a Formula 1 racing driver, but the driver in question goes far far beyond that narrow category. Here is a life lived, an exceptional life, lived by an extraordinary person. And this is brought alive by the skilled pen of Maurice Hamilton. There is much to enjoy and rejoice in the passage of Nikki Lauda from young upstart to patria For those of you with zero interest in motor racing and all blokey stuff, please don't fall into the mistaken belief that this is one of 'those' books. Yes, it is about a Formula 1 racing driver, but the driver in question goes far far beyond that narrow category. Here is a life lived, an exceptional life, lived by an extraordinary person. And this is brought alive by the skilled pen of Maurice Hamilton. There is much to enjoy and rejoice in the passage of Nikki Lauda from young upstart to patriarch. This was one of those books where I attempted to pace myself in order to prolong the pleasure. Fat chance!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Frieda

    How to cover everything I feel about Lauda and his life story? To start with, the day of his first return back at Monza in 1975 was the very day of my birth... Not relevant to his story but mine to his. He won his first championship that year. The last championship he won was the first year I started actively watching F1. He was my first F1 hero. I didn't remember, or even seem to have seen, his scars, I only noticed them when I was much older and more aware of peoples looks, I guess. I learnt a How to cover everything I feel about Lauda and his life story? To start with, the day of his first return back at Monza in 1975 was the very day of my birth... Not relevant to his story but mine to his. He won his first championship that year. The last championship he won was the first year I started actively watching F1. He was my first F1 hero. I didn't remember, or even seem to have seen, his scars, I only noticed them when I was much older and more aware of peoples looks, I guess. I learnt a lot about him here and truly appreciate it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tania Gabis

    I don’t usually read biographies but this one was amazing. Maurice Hamilton did an amazing job telling the story of the legendary Niki Lauda. I’ve only recently started to become fan of F1 and that made me love it more! Highly recommend this book, even if you are not a big fan of F1. Niki Lauda is such an interesting character, especially with his way of thinking.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    This review should be three and a half stars. With topic like great Niki, I have a feeling the book could be much more of a story telling, radiate more energy which Niki represented and much less crude facts and quotes from everywhere. But for F1 fan, this is a must read anyway, as Niki was trully a legend that will be impossible to repeat in the world of today.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean Harding

    I'm not sure if this was the most comprehensive biography of Lauda, it was interesting, if a little on the hagiography side, the author came across, intentional or not as a Lauda fan and this coloured the ;ages of the book. It was a decent read, but I would be interested to read a differing biography at some point to get a different perspective. I'm not sure if this was the most comprehensive biography of Lauda, it was interesting, if a little on the hagiography side, the author came across, intentional or not as a Lauda fan and this coloured the ;ages of the book. It was a decent read, but I would be interested to read a differing biography at some point to get a different perspective.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Timo

    An excellent biography, thankfully focusing more on Lauda’s character and career than his personal life. I listened the English audiobook version which was mainly well executed, but was read using irritating fake accents when quoting French, Austrian or Italian people.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Niels Martens

    Great character sketch, told by a lot off F1 involved who worked with Niki Lauda. This book misses Niki Lauda's early history and stays away from detailed description of Lauda Air. Nice to read. Great character sketch, told by a lot off F1 involved who worked with Niki Lauda. This book misses Niki Lauda's early history and stays away from detailed description of Lauda Air. Nice to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Mckenzie

    I never really followed Niki's involvement in F1 until he joined Mercedes, but even then he always had an air of greatness about him. This book provides the story behind that greatness, and why he was always treated with such respect. I never really followed Niki's involvement in F1 until he joined Mercedes, but even then he always had an air of greatness about him. This book provides the story behind that greatness, and why he was always treated with such respect.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Johnsen

    Excellent book, a true joy to read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cantona

    Fünf Sterne ***** +++ Eine der allerbesten Sportbiografien, die ich je gelesen habe. Spannend, emotional. Ein herausragendes Erlebnis!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alain Lefebvre

    Meilleure que l'autobiographie mais ça manque de détails sur la dernière partie de vie de ce champion... Meilleure que l'autobiographie mais ça manque de détails sur la dernière partie de vie de ce champion...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael J

    An excellent read. Informed insight into the man. Wonderful contributions from a broad range F1 participants.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Joseph

    a very comprehensive book about niki lauda, written well and light, may not be the most interesting book to read but if you want to know more about niki then the book leaves out no detail.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Wheeler

    One of the best F1 biographies ever I read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Padraig Mulcahy

    The man is a legend in every sense and this book captures this to the full.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emsat80

    Dla fana F1 bardzo ciekawa, choć to laurka wystawiona Nikiemu Laudzie.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rorie Lane

    A brilliant read. Very well written and a great insight into a real hero of formula 1.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Purser

    Very informative and interesting stories about Laudas F1 career and life as well as 3 world championship titles. The world championship battle with James Hunt. The film RUSH.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    Zurückgeschaut habe ich nie, die Vergangenheit hat mich immer nur interessiert, wenn ich geglaubt hab, daraus etwas für die Zukunft lernen zu können. Niki Lauda ist eine unglaublich faszinierende Person, wie der Autor mit diesem Buch sehr gut dargestellt hat. Im Vergleich zu The Death of Aryton Senna fand ich diese Biografie um einiges besser geschrieben. Der Grund für die fünf Sterne liegt aber vermutlich größtenteils an der unvergleichbaren Persönlichkeit von Lauda. Durch Ausschnitte vieler Zurückgeschaut habe ich nie, die Vergangenheit hat mich immer nur interessiert, wenn ich geglaubt hab, daraus etwas für die Zukunft lernen zu können. Niki Lauda ist eine unglaublich faszinierende Person, wie der Autor mit diesem Buch sehr gut dargestellt hat. Im Vergleich zu The Death of Aryton Senna fand ich diese Biografie um einiges besser geschrieben. Der Grund für die fünf Sterne liegt aber vermutlich größtenteils an der unvergleichbaren Persönlichkeit von Lauda. Durch Ausschnitte vieler Interviews wurde das Buch niemals zu trocken zum Lesen. Selbst wenn alte Rennen, die ich nie gesehen habe, beschrieben worden sind, wurde es niemals langweilig. Ich habe gerne zu diesem Buch gegriffen und kann mir gut vorstellen, es irgendwann erneut zu lesen.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    Loved it, a great insight to an absolute legend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zkotempodkocem

  29. 4 out of 5

    Howard Martin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Menni

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