GRR

$7m will get you Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car

18th May 2021
Bob Murray

Yet another record may be about to be added to the extraordinary Formula 1 tally of Sir Lewis Hamilton – a record counted not in the number of grand prix wins but in millions of pounds. One of the champion’s old GP cars is coming up for sale, and it’s not going to be cheap. It is believed to be the first time an ex-Hamilton machine has ever been offered in a public auction.

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The car is the McLaren MP4-25A, chassis number one which makes it the car Hamilton drove to victory in the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix. It is being sold by RM Sotheby’s during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone on 17th-18th July.

As with the number of world championships – currently they have seven each – the man Lewis must beat to take the title as driver of the most valuable contemporary F1 car is Michael Schumacher. RM Sotheby’s sold Schumacher’s Ferrari F2001 in 2017 for $7.5m (at the time £5.6m).

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The F2001 remains the top-priced F1 car, with another ex-Schumacher Ferrari in second, while the former steeds of other world champions such as Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna have all also sold in recent years for prices in the millions.

So what will a GP-winning machine from a multiple world champion generally considered to the best ever make at auction? RM Sotheby’s has put a pre-sale guide on it of between $5-7m – just under the sale price of the F2001 and within touching distance of becoming the world’s most valuable contemporary grand prix car.

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The Mercedes-powered McLaren MP4-25 was not the championship-winner of 2010 but various chassis, including number one in the sale, did chalk up five wins that year, three for Hamilton and two for team-mate Jenson Button.

You may remember the MP4-25 less for its wins and more for its “F-duct” – a McLaren tweak, briefly controversial at the time, that added 6mph to top speed. The duct channelled air to the rear wing and was opened and closed by the driver moving their leg over a hole in the cockpit. The question for the FIA at the time was: does the driver’s leg constitute a moveable aerodynamic device? If it did it would have been illegal.

The legality or otherwise of the of the F-duct is unlikely to be of concern to the buyer of this small slice of Hamilton’s remarkable career.

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Will it become the most valuable F1 car ever sold at auction? A whopping 270 grands prix, 100 pole positions, 98 GP wins, 71 further podium finishes and seven world championships say it’s in with a pretty good chance…

The auction will be held live on the Saturday afternoon of the GP weekend. In what brings a new dimension to the auction “drive-through”, the McLaren will be exercised at speed around Hamilton’s home circuit in front of fans – the first time they will have been allowed in for over a year.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • Formula 1

  • F1 2010

  • Lewis Hamilton

  • McLaren

  • MP4-25

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