F1’s ten highest-paid drivers revealed as Lewis Hamilton is knocked off the top spot for first time in years | The Sun
FORMULA ONE'S best paid drivers in 2022 have been revealed, with a new champion in tow.
Lewis Hamilton, who has held the crown since 2013, endured a difficult year behind the wheel of his Mercedes as he failed to win a race in a season for the first time in his F1 career.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen cruised to a second world championship with a record-breaking 15 race victories to his name.
The pair have been F1's headline act in recent years, with their rivalry seeing sparks fly both on and off the track as they took the 2021 championship down to the last lap of the season.
And while the Dutchman claimed victory in that battle, a year on he has added the lucrative title of F1's best paid driver to his name.
As revealed by Forbes, the Red Bull driver is taking home a cool £33million ($40m) plus £16.5m in bonuses ($20m).
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Verstappen, 25, signed a bumper new-deal with Red Bull ahead of the 2022 season, and he paid back the deal with 15 race wins and shattering the record for most points scored in a season with 454.
Hamilton falls just short of his rival, though not in the basic salary department.
Indeed, the Brit's annual salary dwarfs Verstappen's by around £12.4m ($15m), with Hamilton earning £45.3m ($55m) WITHOUT bonuses.
Verstappen's champion bonus has given him the edge over Hamilton in this case, but Hamilton remains one of the most marketable assets in Motorsport, with him earning £6.6m ($8m) in endorsements off-track.
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Moving down the list is another driver with Hamilton history.
Two-time champion Fernando Alonso claims the final podium spot, with the 41-year-old earning £24.7m ($30m) in 2022.
And like Hamilton, he has secured this deal with just a basic salary.
Not that this has stopped him from swapping Alpine for Aston Martin next season.
Mexican Sergio Perez comes in fourth with £21.4m ($26m) earned.
The 32-year-old narrowly lost out on second spot in the driver's championship to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, but still earned a juicy £13.2m ($16m) in bonuses.
Leclerc comes in next after earning £18.9m ($23m) over 2022.
The Monegasque will be hoping he can make more of a dent in Verstappen's title charge next season and be the first driver to win a title for the Tifosi since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Retiring F1 icon Sebastian Vettel is next.
The four-time champion earned £14m ($17m) in his final year in his F1, though Vettel has been offered a chance to change this decision in the future, with a lot of love clearly still going around for him after Hamilton arranged a farewell dinner for him.
Another star leaving the sport, Daniel Ricciardo, earned the same as Vettel.
But while Vettel is leaving the sport completely, the honeybadger is dropping into a reserve driver role with ex-team Red Bull.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz comes in at P8 on the list, earning £12.4m ($15m).
His former team-mate Lando Norris also made the top 10.
The 23-year-old McLaren star was the only driver outside of the big three teams to earn a podium throughout the season and finished best of the rest in P7 in the driver standings.
His impressive season saw him earn £9.1m ($11m) in 2022, eclipsing that of compatriot George Russell.
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Russell capped off his first-season with the Silver Arrows with a race win at the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.
The 24-year-old earned £8.2m ($10m) despite a basic salary of just £2.5m ($3m).
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