Mercedes superfan buys Lewis Hamilton’s old car for £15.2m in auction
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton remains a favorite of fans of the sport as the race returns to Las Vegas for the first time in four decades.
Lewis Hamilton’s car from his debut season driving for Mercedes has sold for £15.2million at an auction in Las Vegas. The seven-time world champion won his first race for the team in the car at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, 38, has won 81 races and six championships while driving for Mercedes over the decade since that debut season with the manufacturer. However, the 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 car is where it all started.
He drove the car during 14 out of the championship’s 19 events on course to coming fourth in the championship standings behind Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, plus his former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, who was then racing for Ferrari.
Nico Rosberg also drove the car for Mercedes that year. The German driver, who would become a world champion in 2016, won at Monaco and Silverstone before Hamilton’s triumph in Hungary as the team came second in the Constructors’ Championship behind runaway winners Red Bull.
And now that car has become the first to go outside the Mercedes organization. A combination of Hamilton, principal Toto Wolff and the team owns all the other examples.
Sotheby’s confirmed that the lot sold for $18,815,000 at an auction Friday in Las Vegas during the race weekend. Saturday sees an F1 race in Sin City for the first time in four decades.
However, Hamilton faces a difficult task if he is to finish on the podium for the seventh time this season. The Brit surprisingly failed to reach the final stage of qualifying Friday and will thus start the race in 10th despite being 11th fastest due to a 10-place grid penalty handed to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who was 2nd fastest.
Despite rising into the top 10, Hamilton did not hide his disappointment with how qualifying went. “Pretty terrible, but it is what it is,” he said.
“It’s impressive to see the Williams so high up. I just didn’t have any grip out there. I don’t think the tires were working the whole session. Not ideal, it’s been a problem I’ve had for a long time.”We started the weekend with a lot of degradation, as a lot of people did, a lot of graining, so it’ll be really interesting to see… I made some changes to the car, and I’m hoping that it works in the races,” he explained.
I don’t really feel it rubbering in much – there is track progression naturally, it’s getting faster and faster, but not at a crazy steep rate.
“But that’s really what caught me out at the end, so I wasn’t able to go quicker, but other people did go quicker at the end, so it’s just the way it is.”
One of those that went faster was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will start in pole position. World champion Max Verstappen starts second.