Lewis Hamilton has entered the top ten of Forbes' highest-earning athletes list for the first time in his career having accumulated an annual pay packet of approximately $46 million.

The triple F1 world champion is currently in the midst of a three-year contract with Mercedes, with the deal understood to be valued in the region of $38 million ($30m) per season, excluding endorsements.

Though this doesn't represent an increase year-on-year, Hamilton has nonetheless climbed from 11th to 10th on the list of the world's highest-earning athletes, according to Forbes'.

Hamilton is one of three F1 drivers inside the top 100, with Sebastian Vettel rising from 19th to 14th despite earnings/winnings dropping from $41m to $38m, while Fernando Alonso climbs into the top 20 with annual earnings of $36m.

Significantly, the Forbes list reveals Ferrari pays Vettel the same Mercedes pays Hamilton , but earns only a further $500,000k in endorsements on top of that, compared with Hamilton who gets an additional $8m from the likes of Monster, Bombardier and L'Oreal.

To put into perspective, Vettel is the only athlete in the top 30 to earn $500k or less in endorsements.

The list is topped by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who receives $58m from Real Madrid before adding a further $35m in endorsements. Roger Federer is the most endorsed athlete competing having accumulated a mammoth $58m worth in the last year.

10. Lewis Hamilton - $46m total ($38m earnings/winnings + $8m endorsements)
14. Sebastian Vettel - $38.5m total) ($38m earnings/winnings + $500k endorsements)
20. Fernando Alonso - $36 total ($34m earnings/winnings + 2m endorsements)

* The list only includes active competitors, thus excluding retired world champion Nico Rosberg