Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning Mercedes car sold at a staggering $18.8 million, making it one of the most expensive F1 cars ever sold.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton drove the Mercedes W04 after joining the Silver Arrows in 2013, and it was this specific chassis that gave Hamilton his first victory with the team. However, Mercedes doesn’t own it anymore after it was sold for more than $18 million at auction in Las Vegas.
Over the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend, the Mercedes W04 chassis—which had propelled Hamilton to victory in Budapest—went up for auction, with auctioneers RM Sotheby’s initially projecting a $15 million price tag.
However, the original price tag was exceeded when $18,815,000 (£15.1 million) emerged as the winning bid, consequently becoming the second most expensive Formula 1 car ever sold.
Before last weekend, the Ferrari F2003-GA which propelled Michael Schumacher to win his sixth Formula One World Championship, was the most expensive F1 car of the modern era to ever be sold at auction. The car went up for $14.9 million at an auction in Switzerland last year.
Hamilton’s 2013 Mercedes W04 eclipsed the mark and is now the second most valuable Formula 1 car ever to be sold at auction, only trailing the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, which brought in $29.6 million back in 2013.
The fact that this is the only Mercedes F1 car from the current era that isn’t owned by Mercedes, Toto Wolff, or Lewis Hamilton himself is a major factor in the car’s costly price tag. Therefore, there’s a very slim chance that any of the cars Hamilton drove from 2014 to 2020—when he dominated the hybrid era—will be up for auction at some point in the future.
In the wake of his victory in Hungary, the British driver went on to finish fourth in the 2013 championship. He also achieved a further four podium finishes that season. The fact that this W04 is fully functional and still has the original 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine makes it even more appealing.
“In the world of automotive greatness, few marques match the allure of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows,” RM Sotheby’s global head of private sales Shelby Myers said. “The Mercedes W196, which sold for $29.6 million, remains the most valuable Formula 1 car ever sold.
“However, it’s the Mercedes-Benz Uhlenhaut Coupé that fetched $142 million, cementing the Silver Arrows’ place in history books as one of the world’s most valuable and recognisable brands.
“Driven by Formula 1’s most successful driver and sporting icon, Lewis Hamilton, this car delivered his very first win in a Mercedes-Benz, signalling the beginning of the marque’s most dominant period: the Hamilton Mercedes-Benz dynasty.
“This pairing can only be compared to Jordan and the Bulls, Brady and the Patriots, or Messi and Argentina.
“Given the unparalleled lineage and being the sole example outside of Mercedes-Benz’s origination publicly available, the pairing of Lewis and the W04 elevates it beyond just a Formula 1 car.
“This undeniable piece could emerge as one of the most coveted collectibles in the foreseeable future.”
Other Formula 1 items were up for bid besides Hamilton’s W4 such as a signed 2003 Schumacher Ferrari suit that brought in $102,000 and a promo helmet owned by Lando Norris that sold for $10,800.