Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Silverstone, 2022

2022 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-16

2022 F1 season

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The 2022 Formula 1 season is over half way completed, but as the second leg of the season draws nearer, it’s time to look back at how the 20 drivers on this season’s grid have fared over the first 13 rounds.

These rankings are largely based on RaceFans’ race weekend driver ratings for each round of the season so far. However, there are other factors that will be considered when ranking each driver.

This first part will cover the drivers that have been ranked the lowest out of their peers. The remaining 15 drivers will be ranked in future articles over the coming days.

N/A – Nico Hulkenberg – Aston Martin

Nico Hulkenberg

Beat team mate in qualifying1/1
Beat team mate in race1/1
Races finished2/2
Laps spent ahead of team mate36/106

It’s easy to forget that Nico Hulkenberg played a role in the first two race weekends of Formula 1’s new ground-effect era at the start of the 2022 season. Stepping in for Sebastian Vettel who tested positive for covid in the week leading up to the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix the veteran of 181 grand prix starts showed once again why he is the most reliable short-notice substitute driver available today.

Hulkenberg’s exploits in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were unspectacular compared to his efforts for Racing Point back in 2020, but he also did a respectable job in a car that was immediately among the slowest of its peers on the grid. He outqualified Lance Stroll in Bahrain but, understandably, struggled with his race pace and finished last of cars on track. His Saturday performance on an unfamiliar Jeddah circuit was not as strong, but his Sunday was compromised by the early Safety Car.

All in all, Hulkenberg’s efforts in his two race appearances proved that he is still capable of being one of the 20 privileged drivers to hold a place on the Formula 1 grid, but with only two race weekends to his name, it is not fair to factor him into rankings based on such a small sample.

20 – Nicholas Latifi – Williams

Nicholas Latifi

Beat team mate in qualifying1/12
Beat team mate in race1/8
Races finished10/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate145/636

Even if he has become a rather mean-spirited meme in F1 fan culture three seasons into his career, Nicholas Latifi does indeed have the unfortunate distinction of being the least impressive of the 20 drivers on the grid this far into the 2022 season.

But analysing the Williams driver’s season to date, his ranking as the lowest among his peers perhaps speaks more to the general quality on the modern grid than it does about Latifi’s competency. Compared to some drivers in the past that quickly come to mind, Latifi’s biggest weakness is just a general lack of speed, rather than him being an inherently erratic or reckless driver.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Monaco, 2022
A Safety Car crash in Monaco was not Latifi’s finest hour
That said, Latifi has certainly made more than his fair share of mistakes so far in 2022. A very poor weekend in Saudi Arabia saw him crash out of qualifying, then out of the race with an unforced error. Crashing under Safety Car before the Monaco Grand Prix had even begun also stands out as a low point.

Aside from those moments, Latifi has simply been underwhelming on the times sheets – out-qualifying team mate Alexander Albon only once. Ironically, his best weekend came at Silverstone, when he missed out on the benefit of the upgraded Williams given to Albon. Latifi reached Q3 for the first time in the wet (before spinning) and then had a decent run to finish in 12th, losing 11th in the closing laps.

Latifi does not deserve to be the butt of jokes, but it’s hard to argue he also deserves the slot among the 20 elite drivers in Formula 1.

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19 – Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying2/13
Beat team mate in race3/11
Races finished12/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate176/745

After running the numbers multiple times and considering the context of each race weekend on its own merits, there was no other conclusion to draw but that Daniel Ricciardo is the second-lowest ranked driver mid way through the 2022 season.

Following a very difficult first year with McLaren in 2021 where he struggled to adapt to the car, 2022 was supposed to be the reset point for Ricciardo. However, the familiar pattern of Ricciardo floundering while team mate Lando Norris challenged at the top of the midfield has only repeated so far this season, with the eight time grand prix winner scoring less than a quarter of his team’s points through 13 races.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren; Red Bull Ring, 2022
Ricciardo has struggled again to keep up with Norris
Ricciardo did a reasonable job at the very start of the year when he and Norris both had to contend with McLaren’s braking woes, but once they were behind them and Norris came up to speed, Ricciardo has too often been far off his team mate. Crashing out at turn one in Imola while Norris scored a podium was a standout example and he was simply nowhere compared to Norris at Silverstone and the Hungaroring.

His loss of performance at McLaren is all the more mystifying when he shows he is capable of matching Norris, such as in Azerbaijan – it is just far, far too infrequent. While there is still time for him to turn his season around, his disappointing performance across a year-and-a-half in Woking is demonstrated in how McLaren are actively looking for a way out of their commitment to him for 2023.

18 – Mick Schumacher – Haas

Mick Schumacher

Beat team mate in qualifying2/13
Beat team mate in race6/8
Races finished12/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate272/592

In his second season in Formula 1 and his first in a remotely competitive car, Mick Schumacher has had a very noticeable swing in form over the first 13 races of the 2022 season.

Schumacher may very well be currently driving better than he has in his F1 career, but he was let down by a poor start to the campaign. While the returning Kevin Magnussen brushed off the cobwebs and secured multiple points finishes in the early rounds, Schumacher could not back up his team mate and help secure vital extra points while the team had the chance. A sickening crash in qualifying in Jeddah ended his weekend early, while another heavy crash in Monaco led to a very public warning from his team principal Guenther Steiner to stop racking up the repair bill.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Monaco, 2022
Schumacher picked up the pace after early crashes
But even when he kept his car on the road, Schumacher was still being out-performed by Magnussen the majority of the team. That was until the Canadian Grand Prix, when something appeared to shift within Schumacher and he delivered easily his strongest run of races ever, securing his very first points in back-to-back rounds in Britain and Austria, including a very strong run to sixth at the Red Bull Ring.

Throughout his single seater career, Schumacher as always been strongest in the second half of his second season in a category. Will he do so again with the benefit of an updated Haas following the summer break?

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17 – Lance Stroll – Aston Martin

Lance Stroll

Beat team mate in qualifying3/10
Beat team mate in race4/10
Races finished12/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate304/627

The transition from Racing Point to Aston Martin has not been a particularly successful one for the Silverstone-based team and especially not for Lance Stroll. After securing podiums with Williams and Racing Point and even a pole position in 2020, Stroll has just four points from his first 13 rounds of 2022 – his lowest tally at this stage of a season since his final year at Williams in 2018.

Despite being the first team to officially unveil their new challenger for 2022, Aston Martin’s AMR22 was disappointing out of the blocks. Stroll did not have his four-time champion team mate Sebastian Vettel alongside him the first two rounds of the year, with Nico Hulkenberg stepping into a very unknown car in Bahrain and Jeddah and only beating Stroll in Jeddah after he clashed with Alexander Albon in the closing laps.

The third round in Melbourne was a messy weekend for Stroll. He was investigated twice for impeding in practice, crashed before qualifying, hit Nicholas Latifi in Q1 after his team repaired his car, was penalised for weaving in the race and lucky to escape without a second penalty for pushing Valtteri Bottas off the track. He rebounded with his first point in Imola and finished tenth again in Miami after starting from the pitlane.

Multiple tags with the wall in the same qualifying session in Baku did not flatter him, but his form picked up from his home race in Montreal. He robustly held off Vettel in the closing laps of Paul Ricard to cling onto the final point, before Budapest was probably his strongest weekend of the season. He out qualified Vettel and drove well in the race before being spun by Daniel Ricciardo, then obeyed team orders to let Vettel through for the final point but was denied the ability to reclaim the place before the chequered flag.

Stroll’s unique privileged position means there is no question over his future in Aston Martin, but if he and his team are serious about eventually challenging for wins and championships in the years ahead, he will need to show more performances like Budapest and fewer like Melbourne.

16 – Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda

Beat team mate in qualifying5/12
Beat team mate in race2/7
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate221/614

Yuki Tsunoda endured a challenging first season in Formula 1, showing flashes of speed and talent at times but making a litany of errors out on track along the way. Given his young age, it was little surprise that Red Bull opted to give Tsunoda a second season to work on developing his skills, given his apparent potential.

Half way through his second season and it is a similar story in 2022 for Tsunoda. Just as there have been moments of brilliance, he has also made some of the biggest blunders of the season so far.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Silverstone, 2022
Tsunoda has committed some frustrating errors
A strong start to the year in Bahrain saw him take eighth before mechanical problems forced him to miss the second round in Jeddah. His Imola weekend was arguably the strongest of his fledgling Formula 1 career. He was faster than team mate Pierre Gasly in every session and despite qualifying only 16th, he made up four places in the sprint race then five more by the end of the grand prix to claim seventh at the chequered flag.

His Barcelona weekend was also solid, beating Gasly once again and converting a three stop strategy to claim the final point, but then immediately followed that up with an error-filled weekend in Monaco where he inadvertently compromised his team mate in qualifying by hitting the barriers and dropped to last place in the race after running off at Sainte Devote. A good weekend in Baku was then again followed by embarrassing errors, crashing out of the Montreal pitlane in the race and then ruining both his and his team mate’s race in Silverstone with a poorly judged overtaking move.

With so many Red Bull juniors waiting in the wings, Tsunoda cannot afford any more calamities in the second phase of the season if he is going to make a successful case for Red Bull to continue investing in his development.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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40 comments on “2022 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-16”

  1. The bottom three & in their specific order are unsurprising (so is Stroll’s ranking to an extent), but Tsunoda ranked only 16th is slightly surprising.

    1. But it’s in line with this site’s average ratings (spoiler alert: link to average rating so far).
      The average rating (4.8) for Yuki was the same as for Lance and Zhou.

      1. Will be interesting to see if Hamilton is in the top 5 this year. It seems unimaginable to me that he wouldn’t be, but when you consider the performances of those in the top 5 using Wood’s averages to date, it’s equally unimaginable that any of them would not feature.

    2. @jerejj

      I thought Yuki was as good as Zhou.. but I think Zhou is being given the benefit of rookie in these rankings. Yuki looked much more at par with Gasly this season. So, if Yuki is 16, I can’t see Gasly higher than #12 or #13

      1. I have Gasly at 14.

  2. I would swap Mick and Daniel and i am all in agreement! Mick crashed the car twice totally and is still not really fast if you compair him with Magnussen while Daniel just had problems to keep pace (compaired with lando).

    1. ‘Just’ problems keeping the pace is quite a big deal for a racing driver though…

      As a team boss I think I’d rather have a fast driver that needs to make less errors, than an errorfree driver that is too slow to bring in points.
      As for Mick not being as fast as Magnussen (yet), he at least has the excuse it’s only his second season when Ricciardo should be at the top of his ability right now.

  3. Ricciardo is a bit of an outlier in that you wouldn’t expect him to be in the bottom 5 given his track record and obviously proven skill in the past. But just based on this season, he definitely belongs in there.

    It’s hard to argue that the other four deserve a seat in Formula 1. Mick can be argued to deserve another year as last year was such a throwaway season for Haas that it can be argued he’s still very much in a rookie year situation. But Stroll, Tsunoda, and Latifi should all three be replaced by either up-and-coming rookies from F2 or perhaps someone like De Vries or Vandoorne, who as former F2 champions and (former) FE champions, definitely should get another look in.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    18th August 2022, 8:50

    until one or two of his more decent races this season, i would rate scumacher last. latifi has beaten him quite a few times and crashed a lot less. i don’t agree with ricciardo being ahead of schumacher. i thought these rankings ignored the experience of drivers. if norris is up in the top 6, then 19th is way too low for ricciardo. his pace has usually been slow, but he isn’t constantly crashing and has beaten norris on merit 3 times who i think is on another level to magnussen. i think that ricciardo should probably be several positions higher up.

    Stroll is about right, but I don’t think Vettel has done much better than him. It has to be mentioned that if it wasn’t for hungary, stroll would have finished in the points more often than vettel, and I actually believe he’s been just slightly more consistent than vettel Vettel has had the best performances of the two, but was a bit lucky to get so many points on one occasion which was partially related to retirements.
    I don’t think Stroll has been better, but I don’t think vettel should be much higher, so to me should be in the next group on this site.

    1. if norris is up in the top 6, then 19th is way too low for ricciardo.

      As it’s a ranking (rather than a rating) you cannot judge how much the entrants varied in performance, only which one was supposedly better and how many are in between them.

      1. I think he’s arguing that if norris ends up being 6th, ricciardo, while bad, shouldn’t have this many drivers inbetween them, say perhaps 16\17th.

  5. You got 2 pay drivers and a racing surname that helped a lot so the outlier here is DR. Total expensive disaster. If he hadn’t been Mr sunny, he’d already be gone. Like Vettel he’s just run out of ability to adapt and in DR’s case, the affable ‘jokey’ Norris is actually a seriously good racing driver and importantly 11 years younger, younger brain, more flexing ability.

    Very few can go onto their mid 30s and maintain standards. Alonso and Lewis are freaks really, and in Alonso’s case, hes not been a front runner since he left Ferrari so nowhere near the pressure. Alpine would be crazy to take DR. Hes had a great run but its super tough nearer the top.

  6. Tsunoda kinda reminds me of Alex Wurz(Career trajectory). Hyped up when they came to F1. Sometimes showed promise and matched their teammate(Wurz 1998, Tsunoda 2022). But largely got dominated over 3 years.

    1. Wurz had a weight disadvantage in 1999 and 2000, which is why he couldn’t compete with Fisichella. He was alright in the few races he drove in the mid-2000s, being a reliable, if not a slightly boring driver. Tsunoda isn’t really like that.

      1. Wurz was anything but reliable in 1999/2000. He got 5 points while Fisichella got 31. Old points system of course. This is a far cry from the promise he showed in 1998 and that incredible F1 debut in 1997 Outqualifying Jean Alesi 2 out of 3 races and getting a podium.

  7. https://f1frogblog.wordpress.com/2022/08/07/f1-2022-mid-season-driver-rankings/

    Here are my ratings with explanations. I think 19th is a little harsh for Ricciardo, just because Norris is clearly among the very best currently and Ricciardo has sometimes matched him, in Australia and Baku for example. I also think Zhou has been rated quite generously because, while he has showed himself to be very good in wet conditions in Montreal and Silverstone qualifying, apart from that he has been quite comfortably outperformed by Bottas, and although he has had some poor reliability, I don’t think he has lost any points as a result of it and five points is quite low considering the pace of the Alfa Romeo.

  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    18th August 2022, 9:41

    Something else I notice about drivers ranked this low is that extra effort seems to be made to point out the very minor negatives that had vertually no impact on their season. The sort of things that wouldn’t get mentioned if the best performing drivers had made a similar minor mistake.

    Latifi for example didn’t exactly “crash” during the safety car in monaco. It was a very minor contact and he did a better job that “race” than both Tsunoda and Zhou. And yet there is just a sentence below the picture and repeated in more depth in his section that just mentions him going contacting the barriers before the race began, which obviously had no real impact. This to me is just negative bias against him when his actual race performance was somewhat decent.

  9. Man, what a dismal company for Danny Ric to be in… these drivers are really not worth of an F1 seat IMO, all of them having arrived here mostly by having wealthy / famous fathers and sponsors (Honda, in the case of Yuki).

    1. Agreed, it’s puzzling to me why so many back-of-the-grid teams hang on to drivers that are obviously not going to improve or make a difference. Meanwhile, some of the top teams are hanging on to an oversized collection of junior drivers. Sounds like an opportunity to get a discount on those engines.

    2. @gechichan I’d argue Mick came in F1 “mostly” on the back of winning F3 and F2, and as such him getting a shot in F1 was very much on merit.

  10. “Even if he has become a rather mean-spirited meme in F1 fan culture three seasons into his career”

    There’s always one, unfortunately.

    Permenantly-online fans have tended towards this habit of becoming vitriolic towards the perceived slowest driver of the grid, as if they were the worst driver ever to grace F1’s tarmac. Last year it was Mazepin, 2020-2019 it was Stroll, 2018 Sirotkin, 2017 it was Stroll again (lol)…

    Thankfully the memes this year are slightly less spiteful!

    1. Fans also like to target drivers who:
      have a bit of luck,
      have an opinion when asked,
      hail from another country,
      make a joke,
      have financial support,

      1. Are too boring because they have non of the above ;)

    2. @ciaran

      To be fair to Sirotkin.. he was faster than Lance. He just didn’t do great on racedays.

      Lance definitely deserves some of the flak he gets.. he’s been the most rubbish driver that has stayed retained in this sport since 2016. He would be doing the whole F1 community a huge service if he retired and let a more deserving driver take that seat.

  11. The third round in Melbourne was a messy weekend for Stroll. He was investigated twice for impeding in practice, crashed before qualifying, hit Nicholas Latifi in Q1 after his team repaired his car, was penalised for weaving in the race and lucky to escape without a second penalty for pushing Valtteri Bottas off the track.

    I remember him having a bad weekend then. But this summary speaks volumes! That is Maldonado-esque.

  12. Not advocating to put Latifi higher than 20th, but perhaps his wet weather performances have been a bit overlooked in the past seasons.
    In the wet, he seems to drag the car far higher up the grid than what the car usually manages in the dry.
    If a more reputable driver, like f.e. Alonso or Norris, would do this in an inferior car, then we would all be swooning at their remarkable talent.

  13. Ricciardo looks to be doing better than last year, this year the ranking is not as charitable. Daniel does not deserve to be this low because some drivers have either crashed a lot or wasted a lot of points. the bottom end is stacked. Magnussen, Gasly, Stroll, Mick, Latifi, Tsunoda, zhou, bottas.

    1. For an experienced driver like him, he shouldn’t be struggling like that second year in a row. Vettel, Magnusson, Alonso arrived in a new machinery and they are either beating or at par with their teammates who have already been longer than them in the same machinery. Vettel for example scored 4 times more points than his team mate even after missing the first 2 races.
      If it was upto me, I’d give Daniel 20th. You can rate driver better just coz he has a pleasant personality.

    2. Actually Ricciardo was far better last year, in only 4 races in 2021 he scored more points than the entire 2022 and was never that far behind Norris like this year.

  14. I’d probably swap Mick and Lance but otherwise, it looks about right. Lance has had too many incidents of racing his teammate harder than the rest of the field. I’m not saying Mick hasn’t done a little of that as well, but it hasn’t been as notable as Lance’s efforts which usually come off as pretty clumsy.

  15. Never thought i’d see that day Dan Ric is rated as almost the worse (performing) driver on the grid

  16. I say Ricciardo rank is spot on, just barely better than Lafiti, Norris has scored 4 times more points than him, just like Vettel has done it to Stroll.

    And Zhou should be here instead of Tsunoda or Mick, the Alfa was a really good car at the start he should have been there scoring a lot of points it should not matter if he is a rookie, a top driver would have been competitive from the start and Bottas has scored 9 times more points, the highest difference between teammates.

  17. This is incredible, my P20-16 are EXACTLY the same! First time in 12 years!

  18. Where are Perez and Sainz? They are as bad compared to Verstappen and Leclerc as Ricciardo is to Norris.

    1. They’re gonna be in the top 10 for sure, perez started well and continued badly, but still an improvement over the past season, and sainz, while he had a disaster start, recovered and is doing decently now. Are you sure the gap per lap between verstappen\leclerc and their team mates is as high as the one between ricciardo and norris? Apart from that, I think it’s typical that having a great car slightly overrates drivers on rankings like this.

    2. That’s incorrect.

      In terms of qualifying pace, Sainz has the second closest gap to his teammate behind Russell/Hamilton.

      Perez has been off pace in qualifying over the past 5 races, but is still much clsoer over the course of the season than Ricciardo.

      1. Are you sure? Verstappen has beaten Perez 12-1 in races this year. I seem to remember fair few races where Daniel had better or equal Race pace to Norris.

        1. Yes. Perez is closer in race pace and qualifying pace than Ricciardo is to Norris. Don’t let the couple of close races fool you, DR been been about 4 tenths off Lando across the season.

          1. You race to win. The gaps don’t really matter. Verstappen has beaten Perez cleanly every race other than Monaco(which wasn’t convincing either). While Daniel has actually beaten Lando in a fair few races. Around 4 I think.

  19. At least before checking this I guessed the 5 drivers who would’ve been among them, and in case of latifi and ricciardo they were actually in the positions I expected, I was a bit unsure about the others, but I thought we have a very strong grid lately, so someone has to be among the worst even when they didn’t do terribly, if there was gonna be an aston driver it was marginally gonna be stroll, tsunoda for AT as he was a bit worse than gasly and schumacher since, while he improved, he had a bad start indeed; ricciardo obviously the most disappointing and latifi unsurprising.

    I probably would’ve put schumacher 1 place ahead, and expecting vettel to come soon now.

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