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Lewis Hamilton’s $29 Million W04 F1 Car Shatters Auction Record

History was made in Sin City over the weekend as the world’s top drivers took to the track for F1’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. Meanwhile, just down the road at the Sotheby’s auction block, another chapter in the history books was written as seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton’s iconic Mercedes race car fetched USD$18.8 million (AUD$29 million), setting a new record in the annals of automotive auctions.

Interestingly, the 2013 Mercedes W04 commanded a final sale price well beyond the pre-auction predictions set by RM Sotheby’s. Initially valued between USD$10 million and USD$15 million, the hurdling of this estimate highlights the significance of the vehicle and the renown of its acclaimed driver. Find out why below.

Lewis Hamilton's 2013 W04 F1 car | Image: RM Sotheby's
Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 W04 F1 car | Image: RM Sotheby’s

The car in question was the Mercedes-AMG Petronas W04, the first vehicle Lewis Hamilton piloted to victory for his new team. This sleek silver and teal V8 machine became Hamilton’s trusted companion in 14 out of 19 events throughout the 2013 season. However, its standout moment arrived during the Hungarian Grand Prix that same year when he delivered an emphatic win for the manufacturer. Sotheby’s described it as a “seminal piece in the story of the winningest Formula One driver of all time, 103 races and counting.”

Rm sotheby's auction 2013 mercedes amg petronas f1 w04
Image: RM Sotheby’s

In February 2013, at the Jerez track in southern Spain, Mercedes-AMG revealed its new W04 Formula One car. It was the last one packing a V-8 engine before switching to the hybrid V-6 setup in 2014. This beast ran on a 2.4-litre V-8 revving up to 18,000 rpm, cranking out 750 horsepower, with an extra 80 horses up for grabs thanks to its clever kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). As for the engine, it was hooked up to a seven-speed semi-automatic transmission co-developed with Xtrac.

What made it stand out? Well, it boasted front-to-rear inter-connected suspension (FRIC) that seriously boosted its grip. Additionally, it was the last Mercedes-AMG F1 car rocking a high nose. According to the Mercedes-AMG crew themselves, the W04 marked the most significant performance leap the team had ever achieved up to that point. But perhaps best of all, it’s reportedly more than capable of tackling the track again, as its full original engine and transmission were included in the sale.

1984 lamborghini countach 5000 s by bertone
Ralph Lauren’s 1984 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S | Image: RM Sotheby’s

There was much more than Hamilton’s whip on offer at the Vegas auction. Other notable lots included Ralph Lauren’s 1984 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S (sold for USD$830,000) and Michael Schumacher’s 2003 Ferrari race suit (USD$102,000). However, collectors would have also frothed other lots like the 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG Coupe (sold for USD$720,000) or the 2022 Ferrari 812 Competizione (sold for US$1,765,000).

Oh, and there was also a Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 Final Game Worn & Signed Jersey (sold for USD$1,391,000) – yes, it was a real candy shop for the rich.

Check the entire auction range on the RM Sotheby’s website.

2003 michael schumacher scuderia ferrari omp formula one signed racing suit
Michael Schumacher’s 2003 Ferrari race suit | Image: RM Sotheby’s