Millionaires row 2021: Hamilton sweeps payday pole

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Lewis Hamilton's reported £40 million deal to remain at Mercedes in 2021 means he could end up earning twice as much as the next highest-paid driver on this year's Formula 1 grid.

The headline figure for Hamilton's salary - as referenced by The Sun's F1 reporter Ben Hunt - is understood to include performance bonuses, and he also reaps a substantial sum from private sponsors.

In contrast, Max Verstappen is expected to receive £18.2 million from Red Bull for his services this year, according to figures compiled by Britain's The Sun newspaper.

Hamilton's team mate at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, will get a fraction of the world champion's salary and will see just £5.82 million. Similarly Verstappen's new partner at Red Bull Sergio Perez is said to be on a relatively modest £4.37 million.

There's better news for Charles Leclerc, whose long-term deal at Ferrari is believed to put him on £10.19 million for the season. That is the same as Daniel Ricciardo can expect to receive from McLaren following his move from Renault over the winter.

The man he replaced at Woking, Carlos Sainz, is reported to be in line for a £7.28 million pay day at Maranello - the same as his predecessor Sebastian Vettel will now reportedly get from Aston Martin.

Two time world champion Fernando Alonso is believed to be getting £6.55 million from the newly rebranded Alpine team as he returns to F1 after two seasons competing in the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans.

Another former champion Kimi Raikkonen will get in the region of £3.64 million after opting to remain at Alfa Romeo for a further season, with team mate Antonio Giovinazzi likely to receive only a quarter of that amount.

Separate figures from suggest that Giovinazzi along with drivers at the back of the grid are understood to be in line for a £722,000 payday this year.

That would put George Russell on the same financial footing as his Williams team mate Nicholas Latifi and Haas rookie pairing Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Only AlphaTauri newcomer Yuki Tsunoda is expected to earn less.

However all the figures have to be taken with a supersized pinch of salt, as financial and commercial arrangements in the sport are shrouded in secrecy.

That might change if F1 bosses move ahead with introducing a drivers salary cap in their ongoing bid to reduce the costs of taking part in Grand Prix racing. Hamilton has spoken out against the proposals.

"I'm not personally opposed to it," he insisted. "[But] I do think about the next up and coming young stars that are coming through.

"I don't particularly see why they should be handicapped if they're bringing something huge to the sport," he added. "It is a multi-billion dollar sport and they should be rewarded for what they do bring to it."

Driver Team Annual salary
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes £40 million *
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull £18.2 million
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari £10.19 million
4 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren £10.19 million
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari £7.28 million
6 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin £7.28 million
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine £6.55 million
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes £5.82 million
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull £4.37 million
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo £3.64 million

* includes performance bonuses and add-ons

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