While many eyes were on the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix over the weekend, there was further cause for excitement down the road at Sotheby’s auction house where Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 W04 Formula 1 racer sold for $18,815,000 USD.
The car’s final sale price ended way ahead of the initial pre-auction valuation of between $10 million to $15 million USD and that is largely due to its history.
The W04 was the Mercedes F1 team’s final car to feature a naturally aspirated V8 engine before hybrid V6 engines took over in 2014. While the V8 would be their last, there were some firsts including the introduction of front-to-rear-connected suspension (FRIC) for improved mechanical grip.
Mercedes admitted that the W04 was their single largest leap in car performance that the team had made at that point. It was good they did so because it would be the first time Lewis Hamilton stepped into a Mercedes to help form one of the strongest teams in Formula 1 history.
In his very first season, Hamilton drove this car specifically in 14 of the 19 races. He would finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship with five pole positions and five podium finishes. Four of those podiums were in this very car, but it was his first win with Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix that was the highlight of his 2013 season finishing 10.9s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in P2.
Perhaps all that history might be enough for one wealthy F1 enthusiast’s collection, but the W04 is reportedly ready for the track as the original engine and transmission were all included in the sale. So we might see this on track again, but let’s not hold our breath.