Lewis Hamilton Lost the Formula 1 Title to Max Verstappen but Ditched a $44 Million Problem Half a World Away

Article Highlights:

  • Lewis Hamilton is coming off a controversial loss to Max Verstappen in the Formula 1 championship battle in Abu Dhabi
  • The seven-time World Drivers’ Champion balanced out the disappointment by recently unloading a penthouse he bought for $44 million
  • Hamilton continues to own another New York penthouse in addition to homes in London and Geneva

Well, the week wasn’t a total loss for Lewis Hamilton. Heck, people with a working knowledge of Formula 1 rules might suggest the week wasn’t a loss at all and that the British motorsports great actually captured his eighth World Drivers’ Championship even though Max Verstappen stood atop the podium following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton supporters aren’t ready to concede that Verstappen owns his first F1 championship. But at least Hamilton can say he no longer owns something that was turning into a $44 million albatross.

Max Verstappen’s victory over Lewis Hamilton was controversial

A lot of sports fans removed the asterisk from Roger Maris’ name in 2001, when Barry Bonds went deep 73 times and gave baseball fans a better reason to question the legitimacy of the single-season home run record. Two decades later, Max Verstappen has accomplished a feat worthy of an asterisk, but it is through no fault of his own.

Verstappen performed brilliantly throughout the Formula 1 season and led the World Drivers’ Championship for much of the year. He went into Sunday’s season-ending race tied for the lead with Lewis Hamilton, attracting considerable attention to motorsports at a time of year when American sports fans are generally preoccupied with NFL playoff scenarios and the international community fixates on soccer.

He didn’t have the fastest car Sunday and came out on the short end of a ruling on the first lap of the race, but Verstappen prevailed. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old Dutch star, the end of the race was a mess because of decisions race director Michael Masi made during the cleanup following a late-race accident.

The abrupt decision on how to proceed on the restart put Hamilton at a disadvantage, with the British driver’s supporters adamant that Masi went against the FIA rulebook. Verstappen roared into the lead, held on over the last lap, and captured his first Formula 1 championship, denying Hamilton his eighth,

So, Verstappen is the champion, on paper anyway. It’s questionable whether Hamilton’s millions of supporters will ever recognize the crown as legitimate.

Lewis Hamilton struggled to ditch a problem halfway around the world

If the Formula 1 race director and protest jury made bad decisions Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, then the seven-time world champion made one of his own in 2017. At least he can say now that he has put that one behind him.

Lewis Hamilton’s net worth is in the neighborhood of $300 million, and he used a chunk of it in 2017 to purchase a $44 million triplex penthouse in New York City’s Tribeca district. However, Hamilton never moved into the 8,900-square-foot property. That’s because he soon spotted another penthouse not much more than a block away and plunked down another $40.7 million to become a neighbor of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, according to The Wall Street Journal.

So, Hamilton did what rich people have the luxury of doing: He slapped an exorbitant $57 million listing price on the first penthouse in 2019 and waited for someone to bite. In the era before COVID-19, it was a reasonable strategy in a healthy market.

Even with monthly association fees of more than $18,000 on the property, Hamilton could afford to wait for a reasonable offer. That is, until the pandemic both put a crimp in the economy and chased many affluent New Yorkers out to Long Island or northward into the less populated bedroom communities and rural settings upstate. The $44 million property didn’t attract a nibble despite a list of past and current residents including The Weeknd, Meg Ryan, Justin Timberlake, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The Formula 1 star has resolved the problem

With no one biting on his $57 million ask, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton lopped $5 million off the price tag for the six-bedroom New York penthouse in a converted book-binding factory. The combination of the discount and a marketplace recovering from the initial pandemic shock was enough to create interest. The New York Post reported last week that Hamilton accepted an offer for the penthouse and two accompanying parking spots for $49.5 million.

The buyer’s identity is hidden behind a shell company with a Seattle address, leading some to wonder whether Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos might be relocating. Regardless, the new owner is buying quite the gem.

One elevator takes residents and their visitors to the foyer, and the three-level residence has its own elevator inside. The main area for entertaining features 20-foot ceilings, and there is also a top-floor lounge adjacent to two terraces comprising much of the 3,400 square feet of outdoor space with city views.

Meanwhile, Hamilton should get by just fine with the 6,500 square feet in his other New York digs. Sportico.com reports he also maintains homes in Geneva and London.

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