The queen of all motorsport attracts billions of fans worldwide and it’s not surprising that is the third most watched sport in the world. The sport, which was invented by the Britons but developed by the Germans and Italians, rakes in billions of dollars yearly through multi-billion sponsorship deals and through television rights. In 2017 the world of Formula One had its fair share of spoils and fortunes. The unstoppable Lewis Hamilton was dethroned. New kid on the block Max Verstappen had a terrific season while Ferrari had a disappointing season. The season ended with drivers such as Janson Button, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg retiring. Here are the top highest paid formula one drivers.
List of Top 10 Highest Paid Successful Formula One Drivers In The World in 2017
10. Romain Grosjean – $3.2 million a year
The HAAS driver started of his career at the French Renault Championships in 2005 where he made a name for himself and joined the Renault Young Driver Program. In 2007 he became the Formula 3 Euro Series champion. He later on moved to the GP2 Asia Series championships where he topped. In 2009 he debuted for formula one team Renault. He had to wait untill 2012 when he got his first podium finish while driving for the Lotus F1 team. He drivers under the French flag and has made 10 podium finishes in his career.
9. Sergio Perez – $3.2 million a year
Currently, the Mexican formula one driver races in a Force India. He started off his career at the Ferrari Academy where he became a rising star. However, he started his formula one career driving at Sauber. His time at Sauber brought up speculations that he might join Ferrari in the near future due to his raw talent and thirst to win. However Perez denied the claims and shockingly signed for McLaren. However, his time at McLaren was short lived after failing to make a single podium for an entire season. He then joined his current team Force India where he drives alongside fellow team mate Nico Hulkenbburg.
8. Pastor Maldonado – $3.2 million a year
He began his racing career in 2003 in Italy where he competed in the Italian Formula Renault Championship. Even though he didn’t finish top he was spotted as a great upcoming talent and it wasn’t long before he made his Formula One debut. In 2011 he signed for F1 team Williams but had a poor season. In 2012 he during the Spanish Grand Prix he earned his first pole position and went ahead to win the race after fighting of strong opposition from Fernando Alonso.
7. Valtteri Bottas – $3.3 million a year
He started his career at the 2005 Karting World Cup before moving to the Formula Renault Championships. He won the Eurocup and the Northern European Cup together in 2008 making him the second person to do it in the same year. He also had a successive run at the Formula Three where he won 2 Master of Formula 3 titles. He signed for F1 team Williams in 2010 but became number 2 driver in 2013 and made his first debut on the track. His highest finish in the World Driver Championships is 4th. He is expected to sign for the unstoppable Mercedes Petronas F1 team in 2017.
6. Nico Hulkenberg – $4 million a year
He is one amongst the Top 10 Highest Paid Successful Formula One Drivers In The World 2017. He started off his career as a Junior Karting champion before competing in the Formula BMW in 2005 where he won the title on his debut season. He later joined the A1 Grand Prix where he became the most successful A1 driver in history of the championships on his debut. Further victories and successes in the Formula 3 saw him sign for F1 team Williams in 2010 but was dropped a year later. He joined Force India but ended up driving for Sauber in 2013 but returned to Force India in 2014. He will switch to the Renault team in 2017.
5. Daniel Riccardo – $5.5 million a year
He started his career in 2005 during the Formula Ford championships but made his breakthrough in 2009 when he won the British Formula 3 Championships. In 2014 he signed for Red Bull after Mark Webber announced his retirement from Formula one. On his debut season he won 3 Grand Prix and finished 3rd in the driver standings. After a two year absence he returned back in 2016 where he had a fantastic season. He again finished third in the driver standings and invented the now popular celebration style, the ‘shoey’.
4. Kimi Raikkonen – $17 million a year
He joined formula 1 in 2001 after signing for F1 team Sauber- Petronas. In 2002 he was signed by McLaren Mercedes where he became a title contender in 2003 and 2005 when he finished behind world champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. The following seasons were bad for him due to reliability issues with the McLaren car. In 2007 he joined Italian team Ferrari where he won his first world championship on his 1st season with the team. He later left formula one and joined the World Rally Championship and the NASCAR before returning to formula 1 in 2014 for Ferrari.
3. Fernando Alonso – $40 million a year
The two time world champion started off his career as a Karting Champion at the age of 3 years. In 2001 he debuted in Formula One for Mirnadi F1 team. He later joined the Renault team in 2003 and went on to win the world championship title twice in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he signed for McLaren but failed to win any major championship. He later joined Renault in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he signed for Ferrari but again failed to win a title even though he finished runners up thrice. He later on signed for his current team McLaren-Honda.
2. Lewis Hamilton – $41 million a year
At the age of ten he approached McLaren team principal and told him that he wanted to race for McLaren one day. Three years down the line he was enrolled in the McLaren Young Drivers Program where he won the British Formula Renault Championships, the Formula Three Euroseries and GP2 Series. In 2007 he joined McLaren and on his debut season he finished second in the driver standings. The following season he won his first world title. He later joined Mercedes AMG Petronas team where he won back to back titles in 2014 and 2015. He is considered as one of the greatest formula one drivers of his generation and has been described as the most talented driver ever.
1. Sebastian Vettel – $50 million a year
He is one of the greatest formula one drivers ever. He is the youngest driver to win the world championship at the age of 23. He is also the youngest formula one driver to win the title four times in a row. He joined formula one side Red Bull in 2009 but started his high flying career in 2010 where he won the title during a fierce four way deciding final race. He also helped Red Bull win their first World Constructors’ Championship. He later left Red Bull in 2015 and joined Italian side Ferrari. At Ferrari he hasn’t been able to win any title due to a fierce Mercedes side that has dominated the Sport.
These above are the Top 10 Highest Paid Successful Formula One Drivers In The World 2017. As fans all over the world wait for the beginning of the 2017 Formula One season the teams are working up and down to adopt the new technical changes. The big question is, will Mercedes continue with their dominant run or will someone stop them on their hot wheels?