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Formula 1

Edd Straw’s 2022 mid-season F1 driver ratings

by Edd Straw
11 min read

After each Formula 1 event, The Race rates the performance of all 20 grand prix drivers based on their performance throughout the grand prix weekend.

The ratings are awarded out of 10, with five defined as an average performance for an F1 driver, meaning it is still considered a decent score given the ultra-high standard at this level.

To review their performance over the first 13 races of the 2022 season, each driver’s mean average score is calculated to create a ranking.

The ratings listed are the average of the 13 scores given to the drivers with no adjustment and do not account for any additional information that subsequently emerged about a driver’s weekend beyond what was available in the hours after the race.

The ratings also do not take into account factors not addressed by the weekend driver ratings, including their overall contribution to the team and trajectory through the season.

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Given the change of monocoque at Silverstone led to a dramatic upturn in form, it’s possible some of Latifi’s ratings were harsh given there was no indication of a fundamental problem at the time. But even so, Latifi has flattered to deceive even when things have gone well. In Hungary, for example, he had flashes of genuine pace but couldn’t quite string together the lap in qualifying.

Silverstone stands as his most impressive weekend with a Q3 slot in the rain and a fine race drive, but he’s rarely put together the weekends he should have done. There have also been some terrible moments, notably hitting the wall at the hairpin under the safety car at Monaco.

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There have been plenty of very average weekends, some extremely bad ones and a golden run in Canada, Britain and Austria where he showed the level of performance Haas needs from him. That’s proved Schumacher’s fortitude as he’s bounced back from a difficult start to the season, but given he’s only outqualified Magnussen twice in 13 attempts it’s been a below-par season overall.

There is a proper driver in here that we’ve only seen occasionally, but with his F1 future uncertain, he needs to string together a good run in the second half of the season. That’s eminently possible given the progress he has made.

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Tsunoda’s season has been a little more impressive than the average rating suggests, outqualifying Gasly five times and being the stronger AlphaTauri driver at times. He was robbed of his high point of sixth in Baku by being forced to pit for DRS repairs, while his excellent Paul Ricard qualifying performance was rendered meaningless by Ocon clattering into him on the first lap.

But he’s also had weekends, and in particular races, where he’s struggled badly for pace thanks to tyre management strife – as well as committing the cardinal sin of hitting his team-mate at Silverstone.

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At his best, Ricciardo is generally a couple of tenths off Norris in qualifying and he has produced some race stints at a similar level to his team-mate. But at his worst, he is well off in qualifying and struggles to produce pace throughout the race, meaning he finds it difficult to string together ‘complete’ weekends. It’s that inconsistency compared to Norris that has particularly hurt his ratings.

Not at one with the car and troubled by its inconsistencies, Ricciardo once again hasn’t looked himself this year. But with Norris showing what is possible, the inescapable conclusion is that this is another season of Ricciardo not getting the best out of an admittedly difficult car and, concerningly, not making enough sustained progress from one race to another.

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His average rating is almost bang on the 5/10 that’s set as an average performance for an F1-level driver, which is indicative of a solid enough season for Stroll. But he’s not achieved the peaks team-mate Vettel has produced. He has turned in some well-executed race drives, which has been rewarded by a quartet of 10th places, but he’s also had some poor weekends even factoring in limited machinery. It says a lot that his best ratings have been sevens, a good score but below the mark where a driver at this level is truly excelling.

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Zhou’s ratings factor in his rookie status and also a methodical, generally calm approach that has ensured he’s minimised the mistakes in the first half of the year and banked experience. He’s only scored points twice, on debut in Bahrain and in Canada after his excellent qualifying performance in wet conditions, but has generally been at his best on race day. Qualifying, at least in dry conditions, has been the weak point and he needs to close the pace gap of around half-a-second to Bottas. Sensible and constructive, but needs to add pace as experience builds.

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Hulkenberg was called up as a stand-in for Vettel in the first two races and acquitted himself well despite no prior experience of the car. He outqualified Stroll first time out in Bahrain and proved to be a safe pair of hands. The lack of preparation inevitably meant he wasn’t producing his best work, but above-average ratings in both outings reflect the quality of the job he did.

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Vettel has produced some outstanding weekends, notably at Imola with a stellar qualifying performance and eighth-place finish. But there have also been times, for example at Azerbaijan where he finished sixth, where what would have been a much higher rating was dragged down by an error – in that example, a trip up the escape road.

Only in Australia, where he had a disastrous weekend on his return after missing the first two races with COVID-19, did his rating drop below 5 as he’s generally done a good job with limited machinery.

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Albon has rebuilt his F1 reputation and established himself as an effective team leader for Williams, with his runs to points in Australia and Miami the standout moments. He’s backed that up with some fine below-the-radar runs to non-points positions in a limited car, with his mistake in Spain – clipping the marker cone at the chicane and suffering floor damage – his only significant in-race blunder. There’s still more to come and the second half of the season is likely to be stronger, but Albon has put together a fine first half of the campaign.

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Gasly’s tally of 16 points doesn’t do him justice given misfortune has often hit on his stronger weekends, with points lost in Bahrain, Miami, and Monaco to circumstances outside of his control. But he has been erratic and struggled to adapt when the car characteristics haven’t been to his liking too often. That’s led to some poor weekends where his performances haven’t been up to scratch even taking into account the car’s limitations, notably Spain, Canada, Austria and France. But he’s also produced some good unrewarded race drives, particularly Monaco and Hungary.

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This summary could have been written pre-season based on knowledge of Magnussen’s way of driving. He’s had some tremendous high points, notably that fifth place in Bahrain and a great Imola qualifying performance, but he has been erratic and been involved in a few scrapes. That adds up to a points return that isn’t quite what it should be, even though he has played a talismanic role for the revitalised Haas team. Ultimately, Haas has got exactly the driver it knew it was getting – quick, combative and effective but with a few too many performance fluctuations.

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Alpine’s Mr Consistency has been in the points 10 times out of 13, with only a fuel pump failure at Silverstone and his penalty for causing a collision with Hamilton at Monaco preventing him making it 12. That Monaco clash is one of three occasions Ocon has been penalised for causing contact in battle – the others being with Schumacher in Bahrain and Tsunoda in France – which reveals one of his weak points this year. But despite having more points than Alonso, his peaks often haven’t been as high as his team-mate’s during what has nonetheless been a good season.

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Perez’s recent form has been a disappointment and dragged down his average, but that doesn’t change the fact that he had a very effective first part of the season. He took pole position in Saudi Arabia and won in Monaco, giving Verstappen a hard time at times. Since then, as the car has developed he’s been unable to extract the same pace his team-mate has, often the fate of a good driver paired with a great one, but he’s still banked some useful points.

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Struggled early in the season, partly thanks to a lack of confidence in the rear end. But he didn’t let his head drop even with his championship hopes being shattered early on. His hard work allowed him to put together a far stronger run from Canada onwards and has gradually pulled up his average.

If the second half of the year follows that trend, Sainz will climb much higher in this ranking by the end of the campaign. He’s also ticked off his first F1 pole position and race victory, although still has work to do to find that last edge of speed Leclerc can deliver consistently.

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Bottas has been a dependable, high-level performer for Alfa Romeo with mistakes kept to a minimum – running wide and dropping behind the Mercedes drivers in Miami was his biggest error – and consistently strong pace.

Spain was the high point, where Bottas was best-of-the-rest both in qualifying and the race, although life has become more difficult as the car has become, relatively speaking, less competitive. But he’s been a consistent points scorer when the car hasn’t let him down, which has been too often.

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Aside from Silverstone, where his move to the left triggered the start crash that launched Zhou, Russell has been an ever-present in the top five at the end of races and acquitted himself superbly in difficult circumstances.

His pole position lap at the Hungaroring was sublime, perhaps the first true qualifying special of his Mercedes career, although in recent races Hamilton has had the edge on pace overall. But most importantly, he’s shown he belongs near the front of the F1 field.

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He’s not been backward in coming forward with talking up his own performances, but Alonso’s body of work supports his claims in 2022. He’s missed out on some results to reliability problems – and cost himself in both Miami and Canada – but overall he’s operated at a high level all season and been the stronger Alpine driver despite Ocon’s bigger points haul, particularly when it comes to race day.

Depending on how generous you are, Alonso can be said to have lost 30-50 points to problems outside of his control. Another season of being relentlessly, typically Alonso.

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It was difficult to disentangle Hamilton’s own performances from some of the more extreme set-up experiments Mercedes trialled early in the year, with Saudi Arabia and Imola the nadirs of that part of the campaign for him.

But what has been clear is how strong Hamilton has been since the team completed that early troubleshooting phase, with his ultimate pace that fraction ahead of team-mate Russell’s. The run of podiums from Canada onwards, including back to back second places in France and Hungary, disabused anyone of the notion that he’d somehow given up.

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Amid McLaren’s struggles and erratic form, Norris has usually extracted the potential from the car. And when he hasn’t, it’s generally because of factors outside of his control such as the engine problems he hit in Austria and Canada.

While it has been a far less conspicuous season than last year, that’s down to a more inconsistent McLaren but Norris has taken what opportunities there were – notably his third place at Imola – and strung together plenty of minor points finishes in machinery that Ricciardo’s struggles show is far from straightforward to extract the maximum from.

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F1 2022’s Mr Saturday should have more than three victories to his name. He could have taken several wins from Spain, Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada and Silverstone – all races where Ferrari let him down – and has been stunningly quick at times.

The downside is the two major in-race errors – at Imola and Paul Ricard – in 13 races that have cost him points and perhaps his own shortcomings in emulating Sainz’s ability to overrule Ferrari on strategy in races such as Monaco and Hungary. But while he has managed to turn seven pole positions into just three wins, much of the responsibility for that lies with Ferrari.

What Leclerc needs to show in the second half of the season is that he can cut out his own errors so when the team does sharpen up, he’s ready for a serious title tilt in the future.

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Verstappen’s qualifying laps haven’t always been what he wanted given he has struggled at times with a Red Bull not giving him the strong front end he desires and there have been a couple of in-race errors – in Spain and Hungary, both of which are races he won – but overall he has been consistently excellent.

The Red Bull is usually a more raceable car than the Ferrari and Verstappen has made the most of that, but what’s most impressive is he’s won when he can and crucially maximised what was possible when he couldn’t – that latter trait being particularly important given how many times Ferrari has thrown victories away.

He already has one hand on a second consecutive world championship and looks utterly formidable, with his 10 out of 10 Canada showing on a weekend where he could easily have lost out to Ferrari the standout all-round performance.

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