Max Verstappen has been rewarded for his spectacular 2021 season with Red Bull Racing handing him a new long-term deal. The new contract has reportedly put him at par with Formula 1's highest earner Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes' seven-time world champion has been the highest earner in the sport for a number of years. Red Bull are keen to show Verstappen his importance to the long-term success of the team as they enter a new era of the sport in 2022.

According to the Daily Mail, the 2021 world champion was at Red Bull's Milton Keynes base recently to put the final touches on his new deal. The Dutchman is said to have accepted terms of a new £40 million-a-year deal during the recent pre-season test in Barcelona.

The new deal will not only make him the top earner in F1, but its length will make it the most lucrative in the sport's history. Verstappen's current contract was until the end of the 2023 season, but the new one is expected to keep the 24-year-old with the Austrian team well past his 30th birthday.

Red Bull are yet to confirm the extension, but a well-placed source revealed that it has been signed. It is expected that an announcement could arrive before the final pre-season test in Bahrain on Mar. 12.

"It has all been agreed. Max is staying for a long time, maybe even five years extra. It also equates to a substantial financial rise, virtually doubling his money," a source close to the team said.

Mercedes have been long-term admirers of the Dutch racer, and had been tracking him as a potential replacement for Hamilton. However, the fallout from last season's British Grand Prix when Hamilton put Verstappen into the wall in a high speed crash has now caused irreparable damage between the two sides.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen is the first Dutchman to win the Formula One title KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL via AFP