F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract
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Lewis Hamilton will compete for the ninth consecutive year under the Mercedes flag after agreeing a one-year contract for 2021 following months of negotitations. The Brit was asked to take a pay cut by his team, but finally agreed terms which will still make him one of the best paid drivers in the world.
Lewis Hamilton will be the highest paid driver in Formula One after putting pen to paper over a £30m one-year contract.
Hamilton is said to have asked for £40million a year to continue competing for Mercedes, a small raise on last season’s pay packet.
The Brackley-based outfit in response said they wanted to pay Hamilton at closer to £20m in order to cut costs as a result of the pandemic.
The 36-year-old later retracted his request and the two parties settled on a compromise salary of £30m.
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After a two-year hiatus from the sport, that is Fernando Alonso, who signed a new deal with Alpine, formerly known as Renault.
It will be Alonso’s third stint with the team where he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006.
Max Verstappen rounds out the top three, earning £14m.
The Red Bull racer was the closest challenger to the Mercedes last year, winning two races in the process, and will be hoping to close the gap in 2021.
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Then come two old teammates in new places: Sebastian Vettel, now of Aston Martin, and Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren, both of whom are set to earn £12.5m.
Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas, £8m apiece, then follow, before Kimi Raikonnen at Alfa Romeo and Carlos Sainz, the man to replace Vettel at Ferrari, round out the real high earners.
Lower down the list come the likes of Alonso’s team-mate Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez with Red Bull, and Lando Norris with McLaren.
The two new Haas drivers, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, have unknown salaries, though are expected to be in the lower earners, while Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Yuki Tsunoda all come towards the back of the grid.
There is, of course, one more name to fill: George Russell of Williams. He is set to earn £700,000 in 2021, ranking 15th among the known 2021 wages.
Russell could be in line for a pay bump in future years should he move to Williams’ parent company Mercedes, where he could replace either Bottas or Hamilton in the near future.
Indeed, Russell impressed in the Mercedes in Hamilton’s stead after the latter tested positive for the coronavirus and missed the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Russell has been tipped to replace Hamilton as soon as this year, with Formula 1 News reporting that a source in the paddock says there is a ‘real chance’ Russell could steal Hamilton’s Mercedes seat as contract discussions between the pair drag on.
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