Good question! The salaries of Formula 1 drivers’ vary considerably, from the 30-something million dollar salaries of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to less than a million earned by the sport’s lesser stars last season.
Last year’s 22-race season saw reigning F1 World Champion Verstappen cover the most laps – 1,271 in total – while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz covered the least, 238 laps less than the Red Bull driver, begging the question: What do Formula 1 drivers earn per lap?
Spoiler Alert! It takes less than 34 laps for Hamilton to earn $1 million…
Since the arrival of Drive to Survive, Formula 1 has boomed in popularity with more and more fans taking an interest in the pinnacle of motorsport. Their hope of attracting more US viewers appears to have worked, with more US betting sites offering odds on Grands Prix. 2023 will even see three US races on the calendar, in Austin, Miami, and Las Vegas.
OLBG, who conducted the study on the 2022 F1 season per lap earnings, explained the thinking behind the project: “The 20 drivers on the grid work tirelessly week in, week out. However, it’s what happens in the race that counts. That’s why we wanted to find out which drivers earned the most per completed lap.
“We’ve looked at the salaries of drivers and teams, and the laps completed to determine how much each driver earned per lap during the 2022 season.
Results of the OLBG 2022 F1 driver earnings per lap study:
Earnings Per Lap
1. Lewis Hamilton – $29,788 per lap raced in 2022
Hamilton takes the top spot as the most expensive driver on the current F1 grid, earning close to an estimated $30,000 per lap last year, a season to forget. The seven-time F1 World Champion struggled in his porpoising Mercedes car, bouncing to a sixth place finish in the final F1 driver standings, two places behind teammate George Russell in his first season with the team.
2. Max Verstappen – $29,202 per lap raced in 2022
The double F1 World Champion takes second place, earning almost $600 less than Hamilton per lap. Verstappen won his second consecutive title in 2022. The Dutchman completed 1,271 laps, which was more than any other driver.
3. Lando Norris – $20,312 per lap raced in 2022
Completing the top three is McLaren 23-year-old ace Lando Norris, whose estimated earnings per lap are just over $20,000 despite a season that wasn’t quite as successful as 2021, however, he still maintained a level of consistency, finishing in the points in the majority of his races. Norris earned just one podium in 2022, finishing third at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, three less than the season prior.
Other notable information to emerge from the study
Yuki Tsunoda was a bargain for AlphaTauri in terms of what it cost them to keep the Japanese on track last year; he was the cheapest of the 20drivers on the grid in 2022;
Russell, despite beating Hamilton last year, cost Mercedes almost a tenth what they are paying the British veteran;
At Red Bull every lap Verstappen turned cost his team nearly $30,000, while teammate Sergio Perez who also did the heavy lifting to bag the team their first F1 constructors’ title since 2013, was on 6K per lap;
Departed veterans Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, cost their respective teams around the same amount of around 12K per lap.
Ferrari drivers were a bargain for their team, costing the Reds $22,000 per lap, while Red Bull’s drivers cost them 34K and the Mercedes duo 36K.
Finally, as for the best value for money, look to Alpine driver Esteban Ocon who finished eight in the championship, costing the French team $3,839 while Fernando Alonso, the teammate he beat, banked 16.5K for each of his laps last year.