According to financial analysts Forbes, Max Verstappen has surpassed Lewis Hamilton, a rival in Formula 1, as the sport’s top earner.
Verstappen defeated Hamilton to win the drivers’ championship in 2021, and after sweeping to back-to-back titles this year, he has now surpassed him in terms of financial earnings.
With victories in 15 of 22 races and a second world championship under his belt, the Dutchman has been nearly unbeatable in 2022. Compared to his title bout with Hamilton in 2021, which went down to the wire, this time around’s path to the championship win was more simpler.
Hamilton is paid the most out of the two, with Forbes estimating his yearly pay to be £45.6 million. However, Verstappen receives bonuses in addition to that, while the Brit does not. The Red Bull driver outearns the Mercedes athlete in total earnings thanks to bonuses of £16.6 million earned in 2022 added to his base salary of £33.2 million.
Both drivers are involved in businesses outside of Formula 1. Verstappen runs his own racing squad that participates in both real-world and online events. The initiatives Hamilton is involved in are numerous, ranging from his ownership of the Denver Broncos of the NFL to his TV production company and Extreme E team X44.
He was surpassed in 2022 in terms of earnings by Verstappen, but it’s entirely possible that he’ll reclaim the top spot on Forbes’ list next year. The seven-time world champion is getting ready to sign a new deal with Mercedes during the offseason, which might include bonus clauses or a raise in pay.
Verstappen and Hamilton handily outearn the rest of the drivers on the grid in terms of F1 earnings, which is not surprising. Fernando Alonso ranks third on the list, much below the top two with an Alpine base pay of £24.9 million.
With Red Bull paying its second driver a base wage of £8.3 million and an additional £13.3 million in bonuses, Sergio Perez comes in at number four on the list. Charles Leclerc ranks fifth with total earnings amounting to £19.1 million and is followed by Sebastian Vettel who retires after earning £14.1 million in his final year.
“The estimates are based on financial documents, legal filings and press leaks as well as conversations with industry insiders and are rounded to the nearest million,” Forbes explained how they came up with the numbers.
“Drivers typically receive a base salary plus bonuses for points scored or for race or championship wins, with the amount depending on the size of the team and the experience of the driver.”