Lewis Hamilton Tops the Drivers’ Standings

But will he stay at Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton may not be the driver with the most points in this year’s F1 season so far, but he has been confirmed as the top driver when it comes to earnings. Hamilton is enjoying his best year ever as an elite driver, according to Forbes Magazine, which has just released its list of top sports earners. The Mercedes driver is currently ranked as the world’s number one on the race track and the second highest British sportsperson after Gareth Bale, the footballer, and 19th in the world. According to the publication, Hamilton will receive some US$32 million this year, of which only 3 million is from endorsements.


Hamilton always seemed destined to become a superstar, especially when you consider that at the tender age of ten, he approached Ron Dennis, the technical director at McLaren, and told him ‘I want to race for you one day, I want to race for McLaren’ – that is if you believe the legend. Three years later, he fulfilled his dream by joining the racing team’s Young Driver Support Programme, and eventually making his international debut with McLaren in 2007, which he finished second to Kimi Raikkonen. He became the world champion the following year.


Not shy of publicity, Hamilton lives what can be described as a “Rock-and-Roll” lifestyle and, perhaps most famously, has been dating Pussycat Dolls singer, Nicole Scherzinger. According to Forbes, Hamilton’s net worth is currently anywhere between US$88 million and US$200 million, a figure that is bound to just keep on growing as he has endorsement deals with Santander Bank, Tag Heuer, Reebok, IWC and Bombardier.


But in true F1 silly season style, there are reports surfacing, particularly in the British media, of a possible move by Hamilton back to McLaren. Hamilton is currently with the top team in the paddock although his teammate, Niko Rosberg, seems to be having a better season than him. There are only two reasons why Hamilton would move back to the team that nurtured his genius – the first would be if the new Honda-powered McLaren that is being developed for the next season would suddenly develop title-winning form; the second is dependent on how the season works out and in particular if he loses the title to Rosberg. Hamilton and Rosberg famously fell out after Monaco, in part due to what many saw as gamesmanship by Rosberg.


A more realistic target could be Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who is growing increasingly frustrated at Ferrari, but with limited years remaining in the sport, it is unclear whether the Spaniard would want to gamble on the performance of the Honda engine when they return to the sport next year.


Alonso, who left McLaren in acrimonious circumstances at the end of 2007 and has become disillusioned with life at Ferrari, seems the most likely candidate, although it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard can be persuaded to join for the first year of Honda engines in 2015. Incidentally, Alonso is the current number two in the F1 earnings, although he is almost running wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton with total earnings of US$31 million.
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