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Lewis Hamilton's First Race-Winning Mercedes F1 Car Sold for Record Price in Las Vegas

The first Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 car driven by Lewis Hamilton to victory was sold in Las Vegas for a record price: $18.8 million. It is the last of the V8 Mohicans before the turbo hybrid era started.
2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price 10 photos
Photo: RM Sotheby's
2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price
The one who was to become a seven-time F1 Champion, Lewis Hamilton, ticked his first-ever victory for Mercedes in this car. It happened at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

The race car was the last year for the V8 engines, before the turbo-hybrid era began, and the real, pure, raw F1 soundtrack was gone forever. Lewis drove the Silver Arrow in 14 out of the 19 races during that season.

The Silver Arrows were first mentioned during a radio transmission in the 1920s with a reference to the silver body of the race cars that Mercedes used in motor racing. People liked it and the tag gained traction, becoming a second name for the Mercedes racing cars. But Mercedes retired from motor racing in 1955, following the Le Mans disaster.
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The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with Pierre Levegh behind the wheel rear-ended the Jaguar driven by Mike Hawthorn at low pace as he was preparing to pit. The Mercedes launched through the air at 125 mph (200 kph) and skidded over the protective berm, slamming into the spectators' area.

2013 Mercedes\-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price
Photo: RM Sotheby's
The car simply disintegrated. Pieces of the vehicle, including the engine, radiator, front suspension, and hood, flew through the air. The rear end landed on the berm and exploded. Levegh was thrown back onto the race track. He died on the spot. Eighty-three people were killed, and 100 were injured. Despite the chaos, the race continued. Organizers decided it was best. The massive exodus would have blocked all access roads that the emergency vehicles needed to transport the injured to hospitals.

Following the disaster, Mercedes simply disappeared from motor racing and only returned as a works team in 2010, when Mercedes-AMG Petronas put two German drivers on the grid: Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, who had been lured out of retirement.

In 2013, Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes to become the winningest F1 driver of all time, with 103 wins and counting. He is now well ahead of Michael Schumacher’s 91 and Sebastian Vettel’s 53. He also has the most pole positions in the history of the sport, 104. Schumacher is 36 pole positions behind him. Hamilton secured 197 podium wins, which is more than any driver in Formula One. That means that the British driver finished on the podium in nearly 60 percent of the races.

He piloted the Silver Arrows to eight consecutive Constructors’ Championship titles for Mercedes-AMG Petronas between 2014 and 2021 and won six Driver’s Championships over seven years, with Nico Rosberg interrupting his series and retiring after his first and last Championship title. No wonder he made Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in 2020. He was knighted by King Charles in 2021.

2013 Mercedes\-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price
Photo: RM Sotheby's
And it all started with the 2013 season and this car, which has just sold in Las Vegas for a record price. Chassis number F1W04-04 was officially presented in February 2013 at the Jerez race track for the winter testing. It was the final Mercedes F1 car with a V8 engine before the hybrid powertrains took over.

It is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter V8 with an 18,000 rpm redline, which generates 750 horsepower and gets an extra 80 horsepower through the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system). The engine is linked to a seven-speed semi-automatic transmission built in partnership with Xtrac.

The F1W04-04 was the first with a front-to-rear inter-connected suspension (FRIC) and the last with a high nose. That year, Lewis finished fourth, also ticking five pole positions and five podium finishes, four of the poles being achieved in this car. It is the car that finished third at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix, and the Belgian Grand Prix.

But the crown jewel was the win at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July 2013. Hamilton put the car first on the starting grid on Saturday and drove it to victory on Sunday, finishing 10.9 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, with Sebastian Vettel trailing 12.4 seconds behind. The German driver won the Driver’s Championship title that season.

2013 Mercedes\-AMG Petronas F1 race car auctioned off for record price
Photo: RM Sotheby's
Chassis number F1W04-04 is the only one given by Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 that was sold outside of the Mercedes organization. All the rest stayed with the team in Brackley, United Kingdom, or are on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

Someone must have identified it as an ultimate motorsports collectible and paid $17.1 million plus a 10% buyer’s premium (a total of $18.8 million) to take it home, way above what RM Sotheby’s had estimated, between $10 and 15 million.

The auction was held at the Wynn’s Awakening Theatre in Las Vegas and was presided by TV host James Corden.
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