Lewis Hamilton Has His Ferrari LaFerraris Towed Home to Keep the Mileage Down
Also, he says the Pagani Zonda is “terrible to drive.”
You might think that being Lewis Hamilton is all fun and games when he's not at work. After all, life as one of the world's greatest Formula 1 drivers means hours upon hours of intense concentration behind the wheel, in addition to countless more outside of it, deliberating over every aspect of the vehicle alongside the engineers and designers. Once you're out of the race car and onto the streets, you'd seemingly want to leave all any and all worries and concerns behind and just drive, man. Right?
Apparently not. Because even Lewis Hamilton, it seems, is actually super-mindful of how hard he works his cars. The Formula 1 sensation claims he's so cautious about keeping the mileage low on cars like his two Ferrari LaFerraris—yes, he has two, a red LaFerrari coupe and a white LaFerrari Aperta—that he keeps a tow truck on retainer in Los Angeles to come scoop up his cars when he decides he's driven them enough.
"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,” Hamilton said.
That's just one of several brow-raising takeaways from a recent interview Hamilton gave to British newspaper The Times last month, in which the Mercedes-AMG F1 driver opened up about his car collection and driving habits. Another tidbit he dropped: He hates the way his manual transmission-equipped Pagani Zonda drives.
“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." (Only those folks who've driven the previous-generation Smart can appreciate just how damning a criticism that is.)
Another car he claims is a real stinker to drive: his 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang, which he says he bought after watching Bullitt. "Beautiful car, but a heap of junk," Hamilton told The Times. "[Ford] did a good job on the paint job, but the rest of the car just isn’t very good, so I never drive it.”
Not that he has a beef with every Shelby. Hamilton counts not one but two Shelby Cobra 427s among his car collection—a '66 that he says Carroll Shelby himself claimed was "one of the best he’d seen in a long time," and a '67 he uses as a daily driver to keep the other Cobra pristine.
Indeed, buying multiple copies of a car seems to be a bit of a Hamilton habit. In addition to the twin Cobras and the pair of LaFerraris, until recently, he kept a pair of limited-run Ferrari 599s: a 599 GTO, and the even more rare 599 SA Aperta, which shares the GTO's powertrain but does away with the roof. He sold the 599 GTO, but held onto the SA Aperta, copies of which now sell for north of a million dollars.
"I tend to have two of the same car, because when they bring out a more limited edition I have to have it," he said.
Hamilton, as it turns out, views his collection of "something like 15 cars" not just as transportation or entertainment, but as an investment—a way to safeguard part of a personal fortune believed to sit around $200 million. "So many sportsmen—sportswomen are generally a smarter species—have squandered their money. I’m very conscious of that," he told The Times. “I don’t know anything about wine. I don’t know a huge amount about art. But what I do know is cars, and I’m very particular about them.”