Lewis Hamilton could earn a staggering £40million a year at Ferrari amid reports the Italian manufacturer wants Mercedes' marvel – but that still wouldn't make him the top earner in Formula 1.
Major changes could be in the offing as Hamilton enters the final months of his current contract with the Silver Arrows. The 38-year-old has spent a decade on the books at Brackley, where he's won six of his joint-record seven world championships to date.
A move to Maranello could provide exactly the kickstart both Hamilton and Ferrari need to once again be competitive at the head of the field. However, even a £40m salary wouldn't put the Briton atop the wage list.
READ MORE: Ferrari 'set to offer Lewis Hamilton £40million deal' to leave Mercedes next season
That honour belongs to Red Bull powerhouse and incumbent champion Max Verstappen, who signed a five-year contract extension in March 2022 worth a reported £45m per season. Both drivers sit among the upper echelon's of sport's earning elite, but Verstappen looks set to retain his edge regardless of Hamilton's employer.
The Dutchman penned his current contract several months after denying Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world title in the most controversial manner. The 2021 season decider – dubbed the Duel in the Desert – ended Hamilton's streak of four straight crowns and simultaneously solidified Red Bull as F1's new kingpin.
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Cracks have also seemingly emerged in the relationship between Mercedes and Hamilton, who publicly criticised his team's engineers for 'not listening to him' in regards to the 2023 car build.
The Daily Mail reported Ferrari executive chairman John Elkann is already in 'close contact with Hamilton' regarding a move at the end of this season. The Stevenage-born star has long insisted he would end his racing days with the Silver Arrows, but the prospect of a fresh start at arguably F1's most recognisable brand could tempt him to go back on those words.
It almost seems poetic that Hamilton might make one final push to break clear of joint-record-holder Michael Schumacher with the team that made the German a global superstar. Schumacher won five of his seven championships during his time at Ferrari and established himself as the biggest talent the sport had seen.
The £40m sum is believed to match Hamilton's earnings at Mercedes, though conflicting reports suggest the Briton may be earning only £29m for the current campaign. But money isn't believed to be the motivating factor for the best driver of his generation, who is instead urged by the chance to compete for another championship.
Hamilton has since put that status in doubt and holds the F1 records for most race victories, most pole positions, most podium finishes and many more. Any move to Ferrari would reportedly come at the expense of Carlos Sainz Jr., despite the fact the Spaniard currently sits fifth in the standings, two places above team-mate Charles Leclerc.
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