Lewis Hamilton knocked back out of Forbes top 10 despite $82mn earnings

Lionel Messi has taken over as the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Sir Lewis Hamilton has been surpassed by American football player Tom Brady and NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Forbes list of highest paid athletes for 2022.

Having topped the list last year, mixed martial artist and whiskey entrepreneur Conor McGregor has fallen out of the top 10 entirely, while Hamilton’s estimated $82 million a year sees him outside the big 10 having squeezed in last year.

Between 2010 and 2019, the seven-time champion had the 10th overall highest salary of any athlete in the world and, since his first entry into the top 10 in 2017, his salary has risen by $44 million.

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Paris Saint Germain footballer Lionel Messi leads the way ahead of Lakers basketball star LeBron James and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, while Tennis player Roger Federer continues to earn over $90 million a year going into his forties.

Boxer Canelo Alvarez is named in sixth after his surprise loss to Dmitry Bivol on 7 May. Messi’s PSG team-mate Neymar, Warriors NBA player Steph Curry and Nets counterpart Kevin Durant also made the cut.

Hamilton’s absence arrives after his improved performance at the Miami Grand Prix, which he finished in sixth behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell, but he conceded that he does not believe the pace of the erratic W13 has advanced since the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We were the same speed as we were in the first race,” he said after the race.

“We’ve just got to keep trying. We have not improved in these five races. I’m hopeful that at some stage we will but we have just got to keep trying, keep working hard. 

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“The porpoising was not as bad in Miami – it can vary from track to track, from race to race. It wasn’t really bad in Miami… but we were just not fast.”

Team principal Toto Wolff said that the car has pace hidden somewhere, but they need a little more time to extract it.

“We have been [struggling] straight from the beginning, flying in the fog a little bit,” he explained.

“And it is clear that there is potential in the car and she is fast but we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential.

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“It is a car that is probably super-difficult to drive on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window, more out than in, and dissecting the data with a scalpel is just a painful process because it takes a long time.”