Book Review: Grand Prix de Monaco by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch and Hartmut Lehbrink
As everyone revs up for the glitz of Monaco this weekend, its time to checkout a book on F1’s most famous race on the calendar. There really has been no shortage of excellent books published on the Monaco GP. One of the best and a personal favorite is another Schlegelmilch/Lehbrink collaboration in Grand Prix de Monaco.
This book is a beast! Weighing in at well over 3kg with over 450 pages, you will definitely need a strong bookshelf.
Although its 1998 publication date means Grand Prix de Monaco is showing its age, it’s the extensive historic photo collection and layout that still makes this one of the best books on the Monaco grand prix and also Formula 1.
Like most Rainer Schlegelmilch books, the photography is the main attraction. In Grand Prix de Monaco in addition to his own works, Rainer has managed to include archival photos from the Royal Automobile Club of Monaco and Daimler-Benz.
The book opens with a B&W painting of the circuit in 1929 and Alain Prost gets the writing honors for the book’s foreword. Like other Schlegelmilch/Lehbrink books, the text narration is tri-column in English, German and French.
Starting with the 1929 GP won by Grover-Williams in the Bugatti 35B and finishing with Mika Hakkinen’s 1998 victory, each year’s race is summarized on one page followed by a table of the final race results and 2-3 pages of race photos. The early 1930’s photos considering their vintage are fantastic, almost like a Chris Nixon book. If you’re a Nulovari, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo or Auto Union fan, there are some great early era pictures. The color photography is not bad either – plenty of mixed panels, thumbnails, engines, side by side compare shots, candid driver, team and crowd photos. Each of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s races are covered with photos that highlight the main rivals and race incidents.
The book also includes profiles and stories (2-3 pages each) of drivers who achieved great success at Monaco including Carracciola, Fangio, Moss, Graham Hill, Surtees, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Mansell and Schumacher.
The only other comparable book on this subject would be Michael Hewett’s excellent Monaco Grand Prix: A Photographic Portrait which I will later post up a review. Hewett’s book is slightly more up to date as it covers up the 2006 Monaco GP. Both are great books, although I rate Grand Prix de Monaco slightly higher (ironically) due to the more in-depth 1930’s photography. Strangely, for a Schlegelmilch book its the black & white photos here that capture the history and the moment. You will be able to enjoy this book over several sittings, it’s that good.
Wow Factor or Money Shot:
The rear page has a double paged fold out panel of the top 6 finishers for each Monaco race from 1976 to 1998 using famous Schlegelmilch tiled photo montage. Also, Rosemeyer & Chiron pileup at the Nouvelle chicane in 1936.
All F1 fans.