Books

Lewis Hamilton

Ian Stafford

Lewis Hamilton: New Kid on the Grid is the definitive record of Hamilton's rapid elevation to almost the very top of motor racing in just nine months. A rookie from Hertfordshire, Hamilton was presented with a golden opportunity by McLaren to drive one of the best cars on the grid for the 2007 season. Surpassing all expectations, he quickly went on to record a podium in his first ever Grand Prix, notched up four, back-to-back second places and then won his first Grand Prix in Canada. After only six races, he was leading the world drivers' championship.

At this point, the season took on a life of its own. The whole summer was dominated by a struggle for supremacy between Hamilton and his defending world champion teammate Fernando Alonso, who had not signed up to McLaren to be usurped by a rookie. Add to this the serious accusations of spying between Ferrari and McLaren and the 2007 Formula One season soon became one of the most dramatic in living memory. In the end it all came down to the wire, at the last race of the season in Brazil. The outcome, like the season, had an amazing twist to it, but Hamilton's golden future was secured.

Lewis Hamilton: New Kid on the Grid relives all the drama of an unbelievable season and celebrates the arrival of the first British Formula One hero since Nigel Mansell. Beautifully illustrated, it pays tribute to the outstanding achievements of an amazing new sporting superstar.

Easy Ryder

Ian Stafford

'I just don't think there's ever been a European team which has played better'

This was the gracious verdict of US captain Tom Lehman after his team were emphatically defeated 18H-9H by Europe in the 36th Ryder Cup, held at The K Club in County Kildare.

In an event that was monopolised in the early years by the Americans, this was the three-in-a-row triumph that many said couldn't be won. But, spurred on by motivational captain Ian Woosnam and inspired by the courage of team member Darren Clarke, who made himself available for selection just three weeks after the devastating loss of his wife to breast cancer, the European team romped to victory.

It was an emotionally charged contest that Europe dominated from the outset, and the final score did not even adequately reflect the huge gulf between the high-quality play of the victors and the rather lacklustre performance of the Americans. The result ensured that the Europeans have decisively shrugged off their underdog tag while post-mortems into America's defeat will be long-running.
Easy Ryder is a celebratory account that captures every glorious moment of one of the biggest events in the golfing calendar. Accompanied by many stunning photographs, it is an essential read for all golf fans.

Ashes Fever

Ian Stafford

It had been 18 years since England had last won the Ashes. Since then, Australia, their fiercest rivals and the world's best test team throughout this time, had prevailed. But this time England were on a roll. They had been unbeaten for two years and had a crop of young, talented players. It was widely expected that the series would be closer and more competitive than usual, but no one could have predicted that it would end so dramatically.

At the end of the first test at Lords, English optimism had nosedived. Australia were supposed to be an ageing team, but Glenn McGrath destroyed England's batsmen, except for Kevin Pietersen. Yet in the second test, England took command, batting with carefree abandon, then setting a target that looked beyond Australia's capability when, with just two wickets left, they still needed 120 runs. On the last day, England won by just two runs.

During this test match, a new hero was born. Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff scored two fifties and would star again with the ball in the third test at Old Trafford. This time, England needed just one more wicket to win. McGrath and Brett Lee survived the final 24 balls as a watching nation sat gripped.

Unperturbed, England made no mistake at Trent Bridge, this time winning in four days, but even here there was more high drama. When Australia were bowled out in their second innings, England needed only 129 runs to win. They got there, but lost seven wickets in doing so.

Now it was official. This really was the greatest Ashes series of all time. England went to the Oval knowing that a draw would be enough to take home the Ashes after nine consecutive defeats. The eyes of the sporting world fell on a corner of south-east London to watch the drama unfold.

Ashes Fever relives the incredible story of how England brought the best cricket team in the world to their knees during this unforgettable series. It explains the creation of new English sporting heroes and how cricket became the media focal point. Illustrated by 200 photographs, it relates how over three months the England cricket team created history in a manner that is unlikely ever to be repeated.

Biography

Ian Stafford has covered every major sporting event in the world and is a multi-award winning journalist; including Sports Journalist of the Year and twice Magazine Sports Writer of the Year. He is currently sports writer for The Mail on Sunday as well as many other international publications. He is the author of nine books, including Playgrounds of the Gods, short-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, and most recently the bestselling, In Search of the Tiger. As well as making numerous appearances on national and international TV and radio, he is an accomplished after-dinner speaker. He is married with two children and lives in Bromley, Kent.