Lewis Hamilton strikes a Mega Moolah sized pay increase in new F1 contract
After some intense discussions over the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix, Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton was able to confirm that he had signed a two-year extension to his current contract with the Mercedes Formula 1 team.
The deal is expected to net Hamilton (33) around $40,000,000 (£28,000,000) a season up until the end of his contract in 2020 and means that in terms of wage alone, he now becomes the highest paid sporting personality to hail from UK shores, eclipsing the likes of footballers Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane as well as tennis star Andy Murray and golfer Rory McIlroy.
When interviewed following the announcement and asked about his continuing participation in F1, Hamilton stated:
"I still feel pretty great. I wasn't expecting to be feeling as excited as I am now in this signing to extend the contract. I am also very, very conscious of how long it is beyond retirement. I was sitting up here and looking at the old part of the circuit here [at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim] and there are so many great reasons to remain a part of the sport."
Hamilton, a four-time World Champion, is not the highest paid driver in Formula 1 at present, with Ferrari's four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel rumoured to be the highest paid driver earning a reported $50 million a year (£33,400,000), and Kimi Raikkonen earning $32 million, while Fernando Alonso reduced his contract with McLaren-Honda from $40,000,000 a year in 2017, to a $30,000,000 a year contract in 2018.
Another driver has purportedly leapt into the big league in terms of money-making in recent weeks with the news that Australian Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed he will leave Red Bull Racing at the end of this season to sign up with Renault on a purported two-year deal worth around $35,000,000 per season.
Let's now take a look at the top paid F1 Drivers with their estimated salaries. All details are estimated as drivers and teams like to keep the information on what they pay and receive as a salary as a closely guarded secret.
Top F1 drivers salaries per season (all figures are estimated)
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - $50m
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - $35m (from 2019 - will earn $40m with Mercedes)
- Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - $32m
- Fernando Alonso (McLaren) - $30m
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - $12m
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - $10m
- Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) - $7m
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - $6m (From 2019 - will earn $35m with Renault)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Renailt) - $5.5m
- Sergio Perez (Force India) - $5m
- Romain Grosjean (Haas) - $4.45m
- Estaban Ocon (Force India) - $3m
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) - $2.5m
- Lance Stroll (Williams) - $1.8m
- Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) - $1m
- Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault) - $750,000
- Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) - $500,000
- Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) - €400,000
- Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso) - €350,000
- Charles Leclerc (Sauber) - $150,000
What is surprising is the disparity between the top drivers and the drivers for teams that are traditionally at the back of the grid. Charles Leclerc, who has enjoyed a solid season for Sauber) receives the smallest salary meaning that he receives less than a tenth for the season compared to what the top drivers would earn for one of the 21 races in the 2018 F1 season.
The disparity between driver's salaries is also echoed in the budgets that the smaller teams operate on throughout the F1 season, with the budgets of the lesser teams just a fraction of the biggest teams. Mercedes (€450 million) and Ferrari (€430 million) have the largest budgets while the likes of Haas and Force India both have budgets of around €110 million.
It's clear then that the smaller teams cannot afford to hire the better drivers and that they must 'cut their cloth' to suit their more modest budgets. However, the fact that these teams can only spend a quarter of what the top teams can on research and development exacerbates the differences in performance between the two teams.
However, there are talks at introducing a cap on the budgets teams can operate on in future seasons with a cap of €150m per season being mooted. However, it would be interesting to see how the top teams would react to being forced to spend less to compete and in the past, any attempts to introduce a similar cap has eventually failed when the top teams have threatened to quit F1.
What can Hamilton spend his bigger salary on?
With a purported £28 million a year set to be banked in salary alone (not including the many millions more he will earn from image rights and sponsorship deals), Lewis Hamilton could use his additional spending power in a number of different ways.
For the average person, the best way to try and join the jet set may be to win a large amount of money. A lottery win perhaps or you could also try and land the current Mega Moolah progressive jackpot prize, which currently stands at well over £11 million at the time of writing, which is even more than you would win on any typical National Lottery win.
It's also worth remembering that while Hamilton will have to pay tax on his salary, if you land the Mega Moolah prize, this is a tax free lump sum that you will receive in a single lump sum payment, making you an instant multi-millionaire.
That kind of money could see you not only travel the world watching the F1 teams compete at each of the 21 venues in a season, but you could also afford one of the top marques available from some of the teams including the Ferrari La Ferrari hypercar, one of which was sold at auction for $10 million in 2017.
A cheaper alternative could be the new McLaren Hyper-GT which is reported to be the fastest McLaren ever made and will come with a price tag of around $2 million when it is completed in 2019.
How can I try to win the Mega Moolah jackpot?
Go to Mega Moolah's Where to Play page and pick an offer that you like. It's that easy! Good luck!
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.