Blimey, what a weekend in Vegas. Not only did the return of Grand Prix racing to Sin City turn out to be a surprise banger after a tonne of scepticism leading into the race, but it also saw one of Lewis Hamilton’s most iconic cars up for auction. Well, that just became the second-most-expensive Formula One machine ever.
Auctioned by RM Sotheby’s, this 2013 Mercedes W04 sold for an eye-watering $18,815,000 (approx. £15,000,000). That’s bested only by another Mercedes, a W196R raced by Fangio in 1954, which sold in 2013 for £19.7m.
Granted, the history of the car probably warrants the price tag. It’s the car from Hamilton’s debut season with the team, having made the leap from then-title challengers McLaren to middle-of-the-road Mercedes at the conclusion of the 2012 season. It seems like an obvious move in hindsight, but at the time appeared to be career suicide for the Brit who only had the 2008 World Drivers’ Championship to his name at that point.
More specifically, this is the chassis he raced 14 of that season’s 19 Grands Prix with, including his only win of the season in Hungary. Notably, it’s also one of the final naturally-aspirated V8 F1 machines before the switch to hybrid power in 2014.
According to RM Sotheby’s, this car is also the only privately-owned, Hamilton-driven Mercedes F1 car – the rest are still under the ownership of the team, its principal Toto Wolff or Lewis himself.
If that remains the case for the foreseeable future, £15,000,000 could prove a bargain once Hamilton calls time on his career. That said, we imagine he’d be more than happy to give away this year’s W14…