No prizes for guessing the first name on this list. Eight wins from 13 starts and an impressive 80-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship testify to Max Verstappen’s brilliant 2022.
While title rivals Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were guilty of unforced errors that led to retirements and loss of points, no such problem happened to Verstappen, who was only too happy to take advantage of Ferrari’s mistakes to claim maximum points.
The Dutchman only won the 2021 title in the last round of the last Grand Prix of the season, but in his current form he should conclude the 2022 championship much faster and more convincingly.
With the pressure of winning a championship now extinct, Verstappen is arguably driving even better than he did in 2021, and it must surely be a matter of when, not if, he lifts the 2022 crown.
Finally moving on to Mercedes after a three-year stint cutting his teeth at Williams, many wondered how George Russell would position himself alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
If the first half of 2022 is any indication, Russell has firmly responded to all the critics who said he would fail to cut the mustard in a top team.
Although Mercedes’ dwindling competitiveness meant Russell was still yet to win a Grand Prix, the Briton squeezed the most out of his W13 and was comfortably the faster of the two Silver Arrows drivers until mid-season.
Russell also picked up a surprise maiden pole position in Hungary and, while he was unable to convert that into a maiden win, Mercedes need to be confident they have a ready-made replacement at the moment. where Hamilton will finally hang up his helmet. Which brings us perfectly to…
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After the disappointment of losing the 2021 title under controversial circumstances, Hamilton has started 2022 in slow fashion, seemingly struggling to cope with the W13’s tendency to porpoise.
However, Mercedes have since overcome their rebound issues, and Hamilton has been much more himself in recent weeks, scoring five podiums in a row before the summer break and rolling back the years by leading several laps of the Brits. Grand Prize.
As Mercedes close in on the frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari, Hamilton currently looks the most likely driver to provide the Silver Arrows with a win in 2022.
After watching team-mate Daniel Ricciardo claim McLaren’s first victory in eight years in Italy last year, Norris was perhaps hoping his first victory would come in 2022.
However, with McLaren losing competitiveness, it seems unlikely that Norris will break his duck this year, but the Briton has been impressive so far nonetheless.
Norris has vastly outperformed and surpassed Ricciardo, and is currently the only driver outside Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes to have finished on the podium during the campaign.
McLaren are clearly convinced of Norris’ potential and have signed the Briton to a multi-year deal. The only question is whether the Woking side can give Norris the gear his talent clearly deserves.
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A perhaps surprising choice, Albon only scoring three points and finishing 19th in the Drivers’ standings. But the Anglo-Thai driver shone despite the limitations of his FW44, and firmly established himself as Williams’ number one driver when he returned to the discipline after a year of inactivity.
Driving a car inferior to most of his rivals, Albon had to rely on clever strategy calls and tire management in order to gain places, and both of these traits were very evident in Melbourne and Miami, as he scored his only goal and that of Williams. points ends from 2022 so far.
Albon and Williams seem to be going well together, and a new multi-year deal has been signed that will see him stay at Grove for the foreseeable future as driver and team look to drag themselves higher up the grid.