Sep.27 (GMM/Inautonews.com) He might be the fastest in 2011 but Sebastian Vettel is not the highest-earning driver on the grid.

That is the claim of Germany’s Bild-Zeitung daily, reporting that the 24-year-old double champion-elect is making ‘just’ EUR 16 million this season.

Ahead of him are Fernando Alonso (25 million) and Michael Schumacher (21m), but Bild claims that Vettel is fast catching up.

The newspaper said the Red Bull driver earns more with every success, including a EUR 6 million bonus for winning the championship this year and a further 2 million on top of that if he wins yet again in 2012.

Vettel also reportedly makes a EUR 500,000 bonus for every victory, which has amounted to no less than 4.5 million with his 9 wins so far in 2011.

Even a mere podium earns the German an extra EUR 250,000, according to Bild.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda told Austria’s Kleine Zeitung that success has not changed Vettel.

“Unlike some other people,” he quipped. “He (Vettel) is a very grounded person — personable, honest and normal.”