Lewis Hamilton, ‘a titan’ of Formula 1, has faced a costly reality over the past two seasons. With Max Verstappen securing his third consecutive championship title, Hamilton has had to forgo a significant financial reward—a bonus of £15 million for winning the World Championship, a feat that has eluded him since Verstappen’s rise.
The financial dynamics of Formula 1’s top drivers reveal that Hamilton, with an annual income of £27.5 million, stands just behind Verstappen in the earnings hierarchy. This remuneration, supplemented by a lucrative championship bonus, underscores the high stakes involved in their on-track duels.
A Rivalry Dimmed
The intense rivalry that peaked in 2021 between Hamilton and Verstappen has simmered down, with few direct clashes in recent times. Hamilton’s struggle to clinch the additional £15 million over the last two years is a testament to the shifting power dynamics within the sport.
The 2022 season marked a low point for Hamilton, culminating in a sixth-place finish despite consistent podium appearances. His performance in 2023 showed signs of improvement, with a chance to surpass Perez in the standings. Yet, Mercedes’ inability to match Red Bull’s pace has kept Hamilton from seriously contending for victories and the championship.
Development Woes and Optimism
The unveiling of Mercedes’ new floor upgrade at the United States Grand Prix initially signalled a breakthrough, only for Hamilton to face disqualification due to a technicality. While the subsequent race in Mexico City demonstrated their competitive edge, the Brazilian Grand Prix laid bare the team’s shortcomings, with Hamilton expressing subdued hopes for closing the gap to Red Bull’s supremacy.
“I think, ultimately, all I can do is try to remain optimistic. The Red Bull I think is so far away. I think they’re probably going to be very clear for the next couple of years.” said a downbeat Hamilton following Brazil.
Verstappen turns screw on Hamilton’s earnings
As the current season winds down, Verstappen’s stronghold on the championship title appears unshakeable. With Red Bull’s early pivot to the 2024 car’s development, the reigning champion is well-positioned to maintain his dominance, potentially prolonging Hamilton’s financial and competitive drought.
Lewis Hamilton’s monetary setback, a byproduct of Max Verstappen’s commanding presence in Formula 1, illustrates the intricate link between performance, rivalry, and financial personal gain in the sport.
As Hamilton and Mercedes regroup for the upcoming season, the quest for the championship—and the lucrative bonuses that accompany it—remains an elusive target in the shadow of Red Bull’s ascendancy.
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