Lewis Hamilton’s first Mercedes Formula One car sells for almost $29 million

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The car which delivered Lewis Hamilton his first of 82 wins for Mercedes became the second-most valuable Formula One car to sell at auction last weekend.

The Mercedes Formula One car which became the catalyst for six of Lewis Hamilton’s seven championships sold for $US18.815 million ($AU28.9 million) at a Las Vegas auction last weekend, becoming one of the most valuable cars of its kind to go under the hammer.

At RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas auction on the eve of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 – raced by Hamilton in the 2013 Formula One season – became the second-most expensive F1 car to be sold at auction, and the dearest to never win a championship.

While it did not surpass the £19.6 million record set by Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 ‘Silver Arrow’ in 2013 – equivalent to £26 million or $AU49.7 million today – it moved past Michael Schumacher’s 2003 title-winning Ferrari which sold last year for 14.63 million Swiss francs ($AU25.4 million) a year ago.

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The Mercedes-AMG W04 which went to auction was the first non-McLaren raced in Formula One by Hamilton, having raced for the team between 2007 and 2012 before controversially announcing his switch to Mercedes for 2013.

The move was seen as a step backwards by some as McLaren was still a competitive team, yet Mercedes – which had only rejoined the sport in 2010 – had won just one race in three seasons in the hands of Nico Rosberg, who was partnered with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.

Though Hamilton was unable to stop Sebastian Vettel dominating the season for Red Bull, he won the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix aboard the Mercedes, delivering his first of 82 wins so far for the team and one of 103 overall victories.

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Hamilton and Mercedes then became champions in six subsequent seasons, winning all drivers titles together from 2014 to 2020 (excluding 2016) while the team won eight straight constructors championships – a record which stands today.

The Mercedes W04 was also the last V8-powered Formula One car driven to victory by Hamilton, as the sport moved from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre engines to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrids from the 2014 season.

Given Hamilton is still racing in Formula One, it’s expected his championship-winning cars could surpass the price of the Mercedes W04 in the future.

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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