DESPITE BEING a factory Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton has not one, but two LaFerraris in his 15 car collection, and he uses a tow truck to keep their mileage to a minimum.
The four-time world drivers’ champion revealed details of his impressive garage to The Sunday Times last month.
Hamilton’s personal wealth is estimated at A$281 million, and the 33-year-old has homes in Colorado, Los Angeles, and Monte Carlo. He also supplements his roadgoing vehicles with a custom Bombardier private jet and a 90-foot yacht.
Included in Hamilton’s personal fleet is a pair of original Shelby Cobras, a Mustang, a Ferrari 599 SA Aperta, that pair of LaFerraris, a McLaren P1 and a A$2.8 million custom Pagani Zonda 760, the latter of which he famously crashed in Monaco after a particularly exuberant night of celebrating following a world championship victory.
Oh, and naturally he has a Mercedes-AMG Project One on order.
“I do like driving,” Hamilton explained to The Sunday Times. “But I hate sitting in a car for more than a couple of hours.”
Of his 15 cars, Hamilton rates eight as “special”, and divides these between his house in Monaco and a garage he rents in Los Angeles.
Hamilton was snapped by paparazzi parking one of his LaFerraris outside a venue in the Californian city, only for a tow truck to arrive and remove the vehicle. This prompted speculation of unpaid parking and speeding fines, but the truth is much simpler – the F1 driver keeps a towie on call to ensure his cars don’t rack up unnecessary mileage.
“In LA, I’ve got a tow truck and a handyman,” he said. “If I think I’ve had my excitement quota for the day I’ll ring him up and he’ll collect it from wherever I am.”
Although he’s tightly connected to Mercedes-Benz, Hamilton clearly has a penchant for vehicles from Maranello, with a 599 GTO the second car he ever bought with his own cash.
Considering his substantial wealth, Hamilton sees his collection of vehicles as an investment.
“I don’t know anything about wine,” he explained. “I don’t know a huge amount about art. But what I do know is cars, and I’m very particular about them.”
“I could sell them all for way more than I paid for them, but these are my babies, my art pieces, and I’ve worked hard for them.”
Another gem from his collection is a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427, which was inspected by Mr Shelby himself before purchase.
“I found it and called Carroll Shelby to check it out for me. He said it was one of the best he’d seen in a long time, all original,” Hamilton explained.
“I got a second one soon after, a ’67 427, which I actually use more because I want to keep the ’66 one perfect.”
However, the racing driver isn’t always glowing in his reviews for the cars in his collection, with his limited-edition Pagani a target of his ire.
“The Zonda is terrible to drive! It’s the best-sounding car I own, but handling-wise it’s the worst,” he said. “I got it in manual because I didn’t like the tiptronic version.
“The tiptronic Pagani offered was worse than the Smart Roadster I had. I’m used to quick gearshifts, so I’m more critical than most customers. If you asked me to design my own supercar I’d have it manual.”
Hamilton isn’t always at the wheel, spending plenty of time being chauffeured to and from events and grands prix weekends. The Briton rates the Mercedes-Maybach S 600, Mercedes-Benz GL 63 and Cadillac Escalade as his favourite vehicles to be driven in.
As for future additions, Hamilton is eyeing off potentially adding a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, or if the budget will allow, a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder.
“That’s the dream car, like the one in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. When I retire, that’s what I want to drive.”