One deep-pocketed collector fan has made abundantly clear who he thinks is the best Formula 1 driver of all time.
One of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas race cars from the 2013 season just sold for $18.8 million at RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas Grand Prix sale this past Friday, according to The Drive. The enormous sum is $4 million more than one of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari racers sold for last year.
More from Robb Report
Hamilton’s decision to join Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport before the 2013 season is destined to go down as one of the greatest moves in F1 history. As hard as it may be to imagine now, but there were plenty of people who thought joining up with Toto Wolff risky, especially since Hamilton already built a more-than-respectable career for himself at McLaren, where he won his first driver’s championship and 21 races. But six driver’s championships and 82 wins later and it’s clear that he knew exactly what he was doing.
The car that sold on Friday, chassis W04, is the one that Hamilton drove in 14 of the 2013 season’s 19 events. It was also the one he was piloting when he took his first checkered flag for the team at that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. It still wears the livery it did that season, a silver and green number adorned with colorful sponsor graphics. Its most intriguing feature, though, is the 2.4-liter V-8 that sits in its engine bay. The next year, regulations mandated that all teams switch over to a hybrid-assisted 1.6-liter V-6, which powers F1 cars to this day.
In selling for $18.8 million on Friday, Hamilton’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas race car easily bested the $10 million to $15 million that RM Sotheby’s had expected it to sell for. That wasn’t a complete shock, as chassis W04 is the only one of Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 cars that isn’t owned by the German marque, team principal Toto Wolff, or the driver himself.
It didn’t just outpace the auction house’s estimate. It also sold for nearly $4.2 million more than Schumacher’s championship-winning 2003 Ferrari race car sold for last November. That makes Hamilton’s vehicle the most expensive modern Formula 1 car. It’s far from the most valuable car to compete in the competition, though. That distinction belongs to Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes W196, which sold for $29.6 million in 2013.
Click here for more photos of Lewis Hamilton’s first race-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car.
Best of Robb Report