Fernando Alonso tops list of highest-paid F1 drivers

It's no great secret that Formula One drivers stand to make a lot of money. And we do mean a lot. But the difference between the top drivers and the bottom ones – and just who sits where – may surprise you.

Though salaries in F1 typically remain secret, Autoweek has a rundown of what each of the drivers on the grid is making this year, courtesy of the latest Business Book. And according to the report, the top-paid driver is not the current reigning champion, or the one with the most titles: it's Fernando Alonso.

To lure him away from Ferrari, McLaren- Honda is reportedly paying Alonso a whopping $39 million this year. The Spaniard has yet to score a single championship point this season – let alone a podium or outright victory – but that's chalked up more to the team's teething problems than to his own.

Sebastian Vettel is reportedly the next top-paid driver, earning $30 million per season from Ferrari – which is already a fair bit more than he was said to have been making at Red Bull while racking up four consecutive world championships.

The current defending champion (and points leader) Lewis Hamilton is next at $28 million per year from Mercedes, followed by former champion Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari - $20 million), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes - $15 million), and Jenson Button ( McLaren - $11 million). The rest are making seven figures or as low as six, with Felipe Massa ( Williams), Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez ( Force India), Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado ( Lotus) each taking home $4.5 million this year.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas is said to be making $2.2 million, with the highly rated Daniel Ricciardo earning "only" $1.65 million. His teammate Daniil Kvyat is reportedly earning even less at $820k, with the Toro Rosso newbies Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz earning $275k apiece, ahead of Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson ($220k each) and Manor paying Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi even less.

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