Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 F1 Mercedes sets new R343m auction record
It was his first win in a Mercedes and he went on to pilot the Silver Arrows to six driver’s championships
The car Lewis Hamilton drove to his first Formula One victory for Mercedes sold for $18.8m (R343m) at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Las Vegas on November 17. It was the highest price yet achieved for an F1 car of the modern era, and the sale took place over the weekend of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Hamilton used the 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 to win the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2013. After a year of development in 2013, one of the most successful dynasties in motorsport history ensued as Hamilton went on to pilot the Silver Arrows to six driver’s championships over seven years, while contributing to eight consecutive constructors’ championships for Mercedes-AMG between 2014 and 2021.
The W04 was the team’s final car to feature a naturally aspirated V8 engine as the hybrid V6 formula took effect for the 2014 season. The 2.4l V8 had an 18,000rpm redline, producing 560kW with an additional 60kW on tap through the kinetic energy recovery system.
Chassis F1 W04-04 was a special car in the lineage of Mercedes-AMG and the career of Hamilton. In his first season with Mercedes it was driven by Hamilton in 14 of the 19 races of the 2013 season. Hamilton would finish the season fourth in the driver’s championship with five pole positions and five podium finishes. Four of those podium finishes were in this car. Apart from winning in Hungary, the car took him to third places at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix.
The W04 joins a growing number of race cars achieving high auction prices.
In 2017 RM Sotheby’s sold Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2001 for $7.5m (R137m). In 2022 another Schumacher Ferrari, a F2003-GA, sold for $14.8m (R270.5m) in Geneva, at the time a record sum for a modern F1 car. A 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 driven by five-time F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio is the most expensive race car yet sold. It sold for $29.65m (R542m) at an auction in 2013.
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