MAX VERSTAPPEN topped F1's pay league last year with a staggering £45million.
The two-time world champion maximised his contract with Red Bull in the 2022 season.
His deal included bonuses for winning races, taking podiums and winning both the drivers' and teams' championship titles.
Verstappen's earnings dwarfed that of Lewis Hamilton, who is in the process of negotiating a new deal with his Mercedes team.
Hamilton, who went winless for the first time in his F1 career last season, is understood to have earned around £29million, claim RacingNews365.
He has now had first talks with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff over a new deal with the contract is expected to be a formality.
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Hamilton, 38, is likely to be offered similar terms to his last contract.
However, in the long-term he is seeking an ambassador position with Mercedes for when he eventually does call time on his racing career.
Both Hamilton and Verstappen have private endorsements too with the Dutchman having just signed a deal with Heineken.
Meanwhile, Jenson Button expects Hamilton to come out of the blocks flying when the season starts next week in Bahrain.
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However, Button, who was Hamilton’s teammate at McLaren between 2010 and 2012, said when he struggled with an uncompetitive car, it led to him contemplating retirement.
Button said: "It’s something we all go through in our careers. It’s a reason why a lot of people retire, they are not in a winning car anymore. That’s why I left.
"You can deal with the pressure you put yourself under and the calendar, if you are in a winning car. When you are not, you are like ‘I’ve had enough, I want to get out’.
“Mercedes have given him a winning car for so many years. Last year obviously they didn’t but the car did win a race last year [with George Russell], so you would say at the end of the year they were strong.
"I think he’ll start this year flat-out. He’s going to be on it from the word go, so I look forward to seeing that.
“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on George; it’s a good pairing. But Lewis will be on it from the word go and I look forward to that fight.”
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