Lewis Hamilton ‘annoyed’ by Max Verstappen earnings as Marko raises theory

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes there will be some interest from Lewis Hamilton in joining Ferrari so that he can regain his title as the highest-earning driver on the F1 grid above Max Verstappen. The Dutchman was rewarded with the most lucrative contract in F1 history in 2022, reported to be worth around £50million a year.

That trumps any single deal for Hamilton, who had previously long held the title as F1’s best-paid driver. It’s been a frustrating 18 months for the seven-time world champion ever since losing the 2021 title to Verstappen in heartbreaking fashion.

Mercedes have been unable to give him a car capable of challenging Red Bull for the past two seasons now with the Silver Arrows now relying on a major upgrade to try and turn their fortune around. Their woes this year have coincided with ongoing contract talks with Hamilton, who’s current deal expires at the end of the year.

And reports emerged last week that Ferrari are willing to test Hamilton’s resolve with a mammoth contract offer. Marko has theorised why he feels Hamilton would, at the least, consider a move to Ferrari with the Red Bull chief claiming the Brit is ‘really annoyed’.

“There are two things that really annoy Hamilton,” Marko told F1 Insider. “Firstly, that he is no longer world champion and will find it difficult to become one again in the future.

“He knows there is no place for him at Red Bull. And whether Ferrari will be better for him in terms of sport than Mercedes is not set in stone.

“In addition to the sporting perspective, Lewis is anything but happy that he is no longer the highest-earning driver in Formula 1. `This is Max Verstappen now. At least that he could change with Ferrari’s help.”

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Ralf Schumacher also pointed out Hamilton’s close relationship with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur as a possible reason the Briton would make the switch. “What could speak for Ferrari: Hamilton’s long and close relationship with team boss Fred Vasseur.

“The Frenchman was already Lewis’s team manager when he was karting. Hamilton also drove for Vasseur’s teams in the junior formulas.

“But Lewis also has a close, trusting relationship with Toto Wolff. That’s why I don’t believe in a change.”

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