When Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes-AMG F1 for the 2013 season, many wondered if he’d made what’d be the biggest blunder of his career. All this time on, we know it was a masterstroke, but back then the British driver was quick to dampen expectations ahead of his first season with the team.
He was playing the long game, and yet, the W04 Hamilton drove in that first year - while not championship-winning material - was at times pretty damn competitive. Teammate Nico Rosberg chalked up a couple of wins before the summer break, while Hamilton managed three third-place finishes and a single victory in the same period.
The particular W04 is the chassis Hamilton used to snag his first Mercedes victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and if you have deep enough pockets, it could be yours. It’ll go under the hammer via RM Sotheby’s at the Las Vegas Grand Prix Official Auction along with other bits of (non-motorsport) sporting memorabilia.
As you’d probably expect, the W04 - which came at the end of F1’s screaming V8 era - will be quite spendy. The estimate is £8.2-12.4 million - in comparison, Hamilton's 2010 Turkish GP-winning McLaren MP4-25A sold for a ‘mere’ £4.8m in 2021.
Shelby Myers, Global Head of Private Sales, RM Sotheby’s, said this of the auction:
"Driven by Formula 1’s most successful driver and sporting icon, Lewis Hamilton, this car delivered his very first win in a Mercedes F1 car, signaling the beginning of the marque's most dominant period: the Hamilton-Mercedes dynasty.
"This pairing can only be compared to Jordan and the Bulls, Brady and the Patriots, or Messi and Argentina. Given the unparalleled lineage and being the sole example outside of Mercedes’ origination publicly available, the pairing of Lewis and the W04 elevates it beyond just a Formula 1 car. This undeniable piece could emerge as one of the most coveted collectables in the foreseeable future.”