Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Hungaroring, 2022

2022 mid-season F1 driver rankings part four: 5-1

2022 F1 season

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The fourth and final part of the RaceFans mid-season driver rankings covers those who have been the very best performers so far in 2022.

5 – George Russell – Mercedes

George Russell

Beat team mate in qualifying7/13
Beat team mate in race7/12
Races finished12/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate436/675

Ever since George Russell first cast his signature over the documents that would enshrine him as a Mercedes junior driver, he has likely never stopped dreaming about one day stepping into the cockpit of a Mercedes F1 car as a race driver. But whatever ambitions he may have had when taking over perhaps the most coveted seat on the grid, Russell’s first half-season as a Mercedes works driver would not have turned out like he envisioned.

However, despite the lack of pace from the W13 relative to their rivals ahead, Russell made arguably as strong a first impression as he possibly could have done. For the first nine rounds of the year, he secured an unbroken streak of top five race finishes and entered the summer break 12 points ahead of his team mate – the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time. Surely Russell’s performance across the first 13 races ranks among the very best of the field?

George Russell, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2022
Five podiums and 12 top five finishes for Russell
Almost. Because while Russell has proven that Mercedes did not make a poor decision in picking him over another season of Valtteri Bottas for 2022, his head-to-head comparison against Hamilton has no doubt been flattered slightly by how Mercedes have been fighting to catch up to Ferrari and Red Bull ahead. Hamilton was revealed to have been running more experimental parts and settings than Russell in the early races, which may have made his pace next to Hamilton look more superior than it probably was in hindsight.

However, Russell is under no obligation to make concessions for his team mate – he is obliged to drive the car he’s been given as fast as he can. And in that task, he has been very successful. Podiums in Melbourne, Barcelona and Baku saw him rise ahead of Carlos Sainz Jnr in the drivers’ standings and he continued to grind away, scoring solid points every weekend without making major errors or getting into unnecessary incidents. He did benefit from fortunate Safety Car timings in Australia and Miami to get ahead of Hamilton, but that’s hardly anything to hold against him.

Once Mercedes got more to grips with their porpoising and extreme bouncing, Hamilton began to out perform Russell more regularly. Crashing out in Q3 in Austria would have looked worse had Hamilton not done the same minutes earlier, but he made up for it by recovering to fourth after serving a contentious penalty for contact with Sergio Perez on the opening lap.

Russell followed his team mate home in Paul Ricard before storming to an out-of-the-blue maiden pole position at the Hungaroring. He ended up holding off the Ferraris for his first stint before Charles Leclerc got past, but finished on the podium behind Hamilton, who had started six places further back on the grid.

Russell has been impressive throughout his first 13 races in the W13, but it will be a tough ask for him to end the season ahead of Hamilton in the points at the current rate.

4 – Fernando Alonso – Alpine

Fernando Alonso

Beat team mate in qualifying8/12
Beat team mate in race4/10
Races finished11/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate376/691

When Aston Martin stunned the paddock by announcing Fernando Alonso would join them for 2023 just hours into the start of the summer break, many questioned the wisdom of moving from Alpine to a team five places lower than them in the constructors’ championship. But there were also those who wondered why the team would be taking on a 41-year-old who hasn’t tasted victory in F1 for almost ten years.

But based on the performances Alonso has demonstrated over the first phase of the season, it’s easy to see why Aston Martin would want the double world champion in their car. Although if you judge Alonso’s results on face value alone, you’d struggle to recognise just how strong he has been this season.

He may not have been as fast as team mate Esteban Ocon in the opening race in Bahrain, but he was quicker in Jeddah and had to overcome some particularly robust defending from Ocon to get by him in the early laps. Unfortunately, his car overheated, leading to his retirement from seventh.

In Melbourne, Alonso was rapid. He showed exceptional pace from the second practice session on Friday and was on his way towards potentially setting a provisional pole time in Q3 before a hydraulics failure made him crash out and start tenth on the grid. His race was then ruined by two Safety Cars, leaving him bitterly frustrated in 17th.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Alonso has been very strong this season
He never got the chance to make anything of his fifth place start in Imola when he was hit by Mick Schumacher and forced to retire, while Miami was easily his worst weekend of the season, missing out on points after hitting Pierre Gasly at turn one, then deliberately cutting the chicane twice and earning another penalty to demote him to fifth.

But after Miami, Alonso was consistently strong over the rest of the season and took points every race. He overcame qualifying setbacks in Spain to take points, casually blocked literally half the field in Monaco to take seventh and then finished seventh again in Baku. Montreal was Alonso at his best, taking a front row start in the wet before ERS problems limited his race pace. Despite this impediment, he still finished seventh right behind Ocon, before a final lap penalty for obvious weaving cost him two places in the final standings.

He also demonstrated his strong race pace in Silverstone by holding off Lando Norris after a McLaren pit wall error to take his best finish of the season in fifth, showed terrific awareness to avoid a penalty in Austria for an unsafe pitlane release before taking the final point from Bottas on the last lap, then finished best of the rest in sixth in Paul Ricard. Even if Ocon is ahead of him in the standings, his consistent impressive drives make him the stand out of the two Alpine drivers so far.

Fernando Alonso’s dream of finally securing that elusive third world championship almost two decades after claiming his two titles may not feel any closer than before, but he is showing that he is not too far past his prime 21 years after his debut.

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3 – Lando Norris – McLaren

Lando Norris

Beat team mate in qualifying0/13
Beat team mate in race11/13
Races finished12/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate569/745

Before the 2022 season had even begun, McLaren displayed just how much they believe in Lando Norris by signing him to a contract extension that will keep him in Woking until at least the end of the 2025 season. So far in 2022, Norris has given McLaren every reason to be delighted with their decision.

Norris had blown multiple race winning team mate Daniel Ricciardo out of the water in their first year together in 2021 and did much the same throughout the first 13 races of 2022. Norris would regularly progress into Q3 where Ricciardo would sometimes struggle to reach Q2. Once McLaren got on top of their braking woes at the start of the season, Norris scored a podium in Imola while Ricciardo’s race was effectively over by the first corner. At this stage of the season, Norris’s third place in Imola is the only podium appearance by any driver not in a Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Imola, 2022
The only driver out of the top three teams to take a podium
In the build up to the Spanish Grand Prix, Norris fell horribly sick with tonsillitis. His condition put him at genuine risk of having to step aside for the weekend, but Norris insisted he could drive despite having to miss briefings. He took eighth in the race and then, while still ill, qualified fifth in Monaco and took the fastest lap on his way to sixth in the race – again while miles ahead of Ricciardo.

In Silverstone, Norris was best of the rest in qualifying and should have been in the race, only losing out to Alonso in the end because his team wasted too much time before calling him in to pit under the Safety Car and making him complete an extra lap. Just before the summer break at the Hungaroring, Norris took advantage of Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton’s problems to line up fourth on the grid and then finished seventh after all three eventually moved ahead of him during the race.

Norris has driven as well as McLaren could have hoped so far this season. With no poor performances or major errors to speak of, he earns his place among the very best drivers of the season so far.

2 – Charles Leclerc – Ferrari

Charles Leclerc

Beat team mate in qualifying8/13
Beat team mate in race3/7
Races finished10/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate327/529

After two frustrating winless seasons with Ferrari, Charles Leclerc immediately established himself as a championship contender in Bahrain by becoming the first driver to take pole position and win in Formula 1’s new ground effect era. For the first few rounds of the season, fans salivated over the prospect of a year-long battle between him and Max Verstappen for the world championship.

But then, from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, Leclerc’s hopes of a drivers’ championship deteriorated – and it was little to do with the driver himself.

Leclerc showed he had the mettle to go toe-to-toe with Verstappen at the front as the pair battled hard for the victory in Bahrain and then in Jeddah, both scoring one win apiece. Leclerc had the edge at Albert Park and was ahead of Verstappen on Saturday as well as Sunday, with a second Red Bull power unit problem helping to give him a decent early lead to start the season.

Three wins for Leclerc – but should have been more
But then in Imola, the first of two major mistakes in the year. A spin at the Variante Alta pursuing Sergio Perez dropped him out of the podium and he ultimately finished in sixth, before throwing away a potential race win in Paul Ricard by spinning out into the barriers in perhaps the most excruciating scene of the season.

It would fair to question why Leclerc still ranks so high despite these major faults during the year especially compared to Russell, Alonso and Norris all managing not to crash out of a race so far this season. However, Leclerc’s relentless speed throughout the season has been unquestionable and does not have himself to blame for why he doesn’t have multiple more victories heading into the second leg of the season.

Beating Max Verstappen head-to-head in Bahrain was no mean feat, and he was peerless in Australia to take a dominant victory. He likely would have won in Barcelona had his turbo not failed and he was not responsible for Ferrari’s pit calls in Monaco that dropped him from the lead of his home race to fourth. He lost 25 more points with another car failure in Baku and did the best he could in Montreal to recover to fifth after starting 19th on the grid.

Ferrari did him no favours again in Silverstone where, despite being allowed passed team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, he was hung out to dry with old tyres under the Safety Car and could not prevent Sainz, Perez and Hamilton from passing him. In Austria, he overtook Verstappen for the lead three separate times to take his first win since Melbourne and at the Hungaroring, another strategy masterclass from Ferrari saw him fall from contention for the win to sixth having had to make an extra pit stop.

His unmatched tally of seven poles demonstrate his raw speed and his record against Sainz make it clear which has been the quicker Ferrari driver so far this season. That he has been able to challenge Verstappen on track when his car and his team’s strategy have enabled him to also show just how he deserves to be fighting his rival for this year’s championship – not be 80 points adrift with under half the season remaining.

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1 – Max Verstappen – Red Bull

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying10/13
Beat team mate in race7/10
Races finished11/13
Laps spent ahead of team mate496/649

After fulfilling his immense raw potential by winning the world championship, Max Verstappen seems to have ascended to a higher level of driving prowess like the protagonist of an anime series. With the number one on his car, Verstappen has very much felt like the final boss of Formula 1 – the driver all 19 others must defeat to have any chance of obtaining the crown for themselves.

With eight wins from 13 rounds, it’s no surprise that he holds such a commanding lead in the drivers’ championship. While it may be disappointing for fans hoping for some intrigue in the title race over the second part of the season, it’s difficult to see how that lead will not continue to grow over the final nine rounds.

Eight wins and an 80 point lead for the world champion
Verstappen certainly had to work hard at the start of the year with Leclerc acting as a very difficult obstacle to overcome in order for him to win. But his Red Bull did him few favours over the opening rounds, a fuel system failure dropping him out of the running in Bahrain before a similar problem dropped him out of second place in Melbourne in a race where Leclerc clearly had the edge on him.

Back-to-back wins in Imola and Miami saw him hold off Leclerc in the former and then chase down and pass his rival in the latter. Despite a bizarre off early in Barcelona, Verstappen recovered despite a faulty DRS and took advantage of Leclerc’s retirement to catch team mate Sergio Perez. He may have benefited from team orders, but few could argue his pace after taking the lead did not show Red Bull were justified to do so,

Monaco was the only weekend where he was outpaced by Perez but he was still always within touch of his team mate. He cruised to an easy victory in Baku after Leclerc suffered another failure, then held off Sainz to win yet again in Montreal. His worst finish of the season in Silverstone was down to him collecting debris from a separate collision that compromised his pace, but he was fortunate not to be brought in front of the stewards to explain his very robust last lap defence from Mick Schumacher.

He just did not have the pace compared to Ferrari at the Red Bull Ring but was still ahead of Sainz in the final phase of the race before Sainz’s power unit erupted in flames, possibly out of sheer intimidation. Verstappen fought hard with Leclerc in Paul Ricard and may well have beaten the Ferrari on track, but Leclerc’s race-ending error means we will never know and he cruised to another comfortable win.

At the Hungaroring, a mistake on his first Q3 lap left him vulnerable, then a power unit problem prevented him from improving on his second run, leaving him tenth on the grid. The fact that Verstappen was then able to pass multiple cars on track at the notoriously tight Hungaroring, spin through 360 degrees retake his lost position and cross the line almost eight seconds ahead of his rivals who had all started ahead of him was the perfect way to punctuate how he is the class of the field at present.

Unless the most remarkable turnaround of form F1 has possibly ever seen takes place in the second leg of the season, Max Verstappen’s second world championship feels like a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

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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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71 comments on “2022 mid-season F1 driver rankings part four: 5-1”

  1. Thank you to everyone for your comments during the mid-season rankings series. Trying to objectively assess every driver after every race weekend has been a far greater challenge than I would have expected!

    Naturally many people will disagree with some of my perspectives and you know what, that’s OK! We all have different perspectives and will put different weightings on different areas. But that’s one of the best things about an exercise like this – seeing the contrast in how everyone else views the season to each other.

    Everyone’s opinion is valid. Except for that one person’s, of course. They know who they are.

    I sincerely hope I get the chance to award a 9/10 rating at some point over the rest of the season!

    1. Well done Will.

      What I value in your ratings, and this ranking, is that you try to look at the driver’s performance (ignoring the car/team) and that you used those ratings to prepare the ranking (too many only recall the past few races).

      I disagreed on various ratings so far this season (and commented on those) but I don’t think this ranking would’ve been significantly different.

      I think I’ve seen a few 9 performances this season, and would’ve awarded a few more 8s as well. IMO too many very good drives were rated 7.
      But of course you cannot change those yardsticks half way through the season.

    2. Thanks for the write-up. Even if one disagrees it’s still nice to get an overview of each of the driver’s seasons so far. I’d argue Vettel and Hamilton are somewhat harshly rated, whereas Leclerc and Alonso given a lot of leniency. For those further down the grid it’ll always be hard to rate just how good a driver is doing when the team itself has plenty of issues putting a solid car on the grid. I suppose that’s why F1 officially has only team participants, with the drivers being merely hired by the teams to pilot their cars.

      I do also appreciate the normal race weekend ranking system. 10/10 or 9/10 ratings should be for those races people still talk about 20 years from now. And since those races exist in F1 history, that seems entirely fair. Turning up and doing a solid job in the best car doesn’t warrant being equaled to some of those legendary drives. Being able to differentiate between the two is what makes a rating scale better than a simple Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down system, after all.

      1. I do also appreciate the normal race weekend ranking system. 10/10 or 9/10 ratings should be for those races people still talk about 20 years from now. And since those races exist in F1 history, that seems entirely fair. Turning up and doing a solid job in the best car doesn’t warrant being equaled to some of those legendary drives.

        That’s exactly what the point of the ratings system I use is. For me, a 9/10 should be drive of the season worthy and a 10/10 is instantly within the handful of greatest weekend performances of all time.

        It’s also difficult when rating by performance across the weekend, rather than just Sunday. Because a driver could have the best race of the season, but if they had an average or poor qualifying or binned it in practice, that has to be taken into account too.

        Overall, would not recommend having to try and score drivers to anyone, because it’s not an easy job at all.

        1. @willwood are you still planning on writing that article about which race drives from history would get a 10/10 under your rating system?

          1. @f1frog Yes, and I have started it.

            It’s just finding the right time during a relentlessly busy season unfortunately!

          2. @F1Frog, how many 9/10 did you award this season so far?

            You don’t have all the race ratings on your blog yet.

          3. jff, I have them all except Hungary, as I was too busy to write a report that weekend, but I have also changed some of the early ones since writing those articles because I decided to change the scoring system to make it equivalent to Autosport’s system, minus one point to keep tens free from great drives, inspired by racefans. But now with the new scoring system I have awarded 13 scores of 9/10 and zero 10/10. The 13 are:
            Leclerc (Bahrain)
            Leclerc (Australia)
            Norris (Australia) – on reflection too generous
            Albon (Australia)
            Verstappen (Imola)
            Leclerc (Spain) – again, too generous
            Gasly (Baku)
            Verstappen (Canada)
            Leclerc (Austria)
            Hamilton (France)
            Sainz (France)
            Hamilton (Hungary)
            Norris (Hungary)

            But these are more like the equivalent of eights on racefans’ system.

            If you go on the mid-season rankings article I have added at the end a couple of graphs showing the average rating of each driver over the season and last three races, although it is a little unclear. But thank you for reading my blog :)

        2. For me, a 9/10 should be drive of the season worthy

          But I think so far you‘ve been a bit strict IMO. You haven’t rated any driver 9/9 yet this season. I already judged some 3-4 drives at that level (worthy to be considered DotS by the end of the season). I would expect to have 5-10 candidates by the end of the season.

          It’s not a big problem other than that there is now little differentiation in the good (7/10) and very good (8/10) groups.

          1. I’d genuinely love to know what your contenders are if you’re willing to share!

          2. I’d genuinely love to know what your contenders are if you’re willing to share!

            I can only go by memory as I don’t keep detailed notes and ratings like @f1Frog above.
            Therefore this is probably not my complete list:
            – Bahrain: Leclerc
            – Australia: Leclerc
            – Imola: Verstappen
            – Canada: Verstappen
            – Austria: maybe Leclerc
            – France: Sainz & Hamilton

        3. I understand the point behind these, but that’s what I would save 10+ and 11 for, I would still give a 10 in case of a perfect regular race.

    3. > Trying to objectively assess every driver
      > Alonso 4th


    4. Thanks for your rankings, Will, I enjoyed reading them.

    5. This is by far the most nuanced and interesting ranking I’ve seen so far. There is so much lazy superficial analysis and blatant confirmation biases.

      I was suprised by a couple of ratings, but I appreciated the analysis that looked beyond the standings.

  2. Stephen Taylor
    21st August 2022, 11:36

    Not really sure how Lando , George or Fernando can be ranked behind Charles here . Whilst Ferrari has let Charles down a lot but he has mad two huge mistakes in Imola and France

    1. Yeah, all of them were far more consistently getting the most out of their cars without making crucial mistakes Stephen.

      Also, Leclers has shown that he does not have the overview of the race (or maybe just trusts his team to do the right thing too much?) to question and challenge their strategy decisions when they go wrong, unlike the guy in the other car. Alonso is certainly doing that. Russel also showed clearer/better awareness at several points in the season, there is a reason why they were able to pull off and profit from some of those SC/VSC situations after long first stints in the early races.

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        21st August 2022, 13:33

        Leclerc is indeed also to blame for not being more vocal and pushing strategy.

        Sainz has been more vocal and with good result in Monaco, Silverstone and also Hungary.

        Leclerc should have asked why he was called in earlier in Hungary, ask why as his tyres were still good.

    2. Stephen Taylor
      21st August 2022, 12:13

      * made

    3. I thought about Leclerc during the run up to this top five, but struggled a bit to come up with another driver who was clearly more deserving of 2nd place. The problem with Russell is obvious: Hamilton (post-experimentation) has been showing that Russell isn’t getting everything out of that Mercedes, a charge you can’t really level at Leclerc. Alonso has indeed been hard done by some of Alpine’s failings, but at the same time he was not unreasonably criticized (by his own, somewhat disgruntled, team) for putting himself on the back-foot at times. Norris is harder (for me) to judge given how up and down McLaren has been. Maybe someone who has been paying better attention to Norris’ season might be able to find justification for putting him 2nd, but I haven’t so it’s hard to say one way or the other. I’d probably put Hamilton, Leclerc and Norris quite a ways behind Verstappen, but bunched up between the three of them.

      1. Stephen Taylor
        21st August 2022, 14:57

        What? Norris has maximised his car this year?

        1. I don’t know, I haven’t paid close enough attention to separate Norris’ performance from McLaren’s changing competitiveness. But I’m sure there are some McLaren aficionado’s who have and that would make them a better judge of Norris’ performance. From what I’ve seen, Norris has had a pretty solid year. Special or better than Alonso, Hamilton or Leclerc? I couldn’t say.

          1. Norris has been better than Hamilton – because the latter has had two races where he clearly screwed up… the former, none.

            Norris has also shaded Alonso, who has occasionally been slower than his team mate.

            I’d argue that Norris is ahead of Leclerc too, given the mistakes that Leclerc has made. That said, Leclerc has been over-driving the car to compensate for Ferrari’s ability to ruin a race…,

  3. Enjoyable reading as always. Versus other seasons I feel there’s less argument as to who’s top and near the bottom of the rankings. Verstappen is in a class of his own, and Latifi/Schumacher/Stroll/Ricciardo need to make clear improvements. Though for the sake of debate I’d put Leclerc a little bit lower due to his two errors, and Russel a small bit higher for taking nearly every opportunity available to him.

  4. What makes verstappen’s huge lead more telling is that he want even in a clearly dominant car.

    In the Merc dominant era we haven’t seen a gap like that in summer break.
    8 victories out of 13 could imply a dominant car but if you look close to each of the victories, Verstappen had to fight with other cars .
    No “qualifying with 0.5s+ gap to other team and drive into the distance “ like we have seen too much in the 2015-2020 era.

    If people call this a boring season , they have short memories.

  5. In order for rankings to be consistent and credible, you need to have a method, and normally it should rely on multiple factors
    1- looking at how a driver has performed versus his team mate
    2- looking at how a driver has performed versus where his car is in the pecking order
    3- looking at how consistent / error free he has been
    4- eliminating the effect of bad luck or problems beyond a drivers control
    5- looking at how challenging his circumstances were (new team / highly rated team mate etc) and how he has responded
    I cannot see how applying logic principles like the ones above leads to George Russell being behind Alonso, or for that matter Alonso being in the top 5. It’s not a matter of “it could be either way”, it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever

    1. Easy. George Russell is loosing to Lewis Hamilton in the races while Fernando Alonso outraced Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

    2. Agreed. The fact that Alonso, beaten so far by his younger teammate, is #4, is just mind-blowing. If Alonso crashes and destroys a car at every race, even then there will comments on how he is like a good wine, how good he is at crashing, how talented at totaling cars.

      1. I think many of us have noticed this. If Alonso crashes, or makes a mistake, or gets beat by Ocon, Will goes to the ends of the earth to put a positive twist on it. Contrast e.g. Hamilton. Will has gone into great detail regarding all Hamilton’s mistakes, in a negative way.

      2. I think you have been watching a different season to suggest that Alonso was beaten so far by his younger teammate. Look at the last 7 or 8 races, Alonso gave Ocon ridiculous gaps in both qualy and races only to be halted by reliability/operational issues out of his control.

        1. Indeed, points don’t tell the whole story, I still think alonso being 4th is generous, maybe would’ve put him a few places behind, but certainly ahead of ocon, he had too many reliability issues and bad strategies, people who only look at points also got surprised about leclerc being ahead of sainz last year, which was fairly obvious in terms of speed\bad luck.

        2. Pretty much this @tifoso1989. Sure, maybe the results on the board don’t show it, but Alonso has been clearly the better driver at Alpine.

          1. @bascb, @esploratore1
            Indeed. There were countless examples of drivers who underperformed against their teammates and still come out on top in the standings. The most recent example that comes to my mind is Kubica who finished ahead of Russell in the WDC despite lagging massively behind him in both qualy and races.

        3. I’m sorry, but I did not “suggest” that Alonso is being beaten so far by his younger yeammate: is the reality, not a suggestion.

          1. Spot on, in the WDC standing he was beaten.
            You are wrong though (as explained above) in your ‘suggestion’ that when beaten on points one cannot be the #4 ranked driver (with the other much lower) :P

          2. @jff
            Nobody “explained” anything, just expressing opinions. In any case, I never said or wrote that a driver beaten on points by his teammate cannot be ranked higher: i said that Alonso being #4, something like 10 positions ahead of the teammate that is beating him, is just ridiculous. Just makes no sense. But it seems that Alonso can do no wrong in here, and he cannot be considered anything but the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. Putting Alonso as the fourth best driver of the season so far just make no sense, IMO.

          3. I agree there shouldn’t be this many positions of difference, I was surprised too.

          4. @horacio,
            You might want to read the various entries again.

            Yes, various commenters ‘explained’ why they agreed with Alonso being ranked higher!

            I never said or wrote that a driver beaten on points by his teammate cannot be ranked higher: i said that Alonso being #4, something like 10 positions ahead of the teammate that is beating him, is just ridiculous.

            Not ‘impossible’, but just ‘ridiculous’! That’s probably as close as one gets to a distinction without a difference.
            PS you might have noticed I (deliberately) used the word ‘suggestion’ rather than claiming you said or wrote this.

  6. Where is Vettel?
    Vettel-16 points Lance 4 points
    Alonso-41 points Ocon 58 points

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      21st August 2022, 15:33

      “What an awful ranking. Vettel is equal on points with Gasly in the 9th fastest car. And Gasly is 11th, Vettel 14th?”

      Why do you ask questions when you have already seen where they are as you wrote this yourself?

      While this doesn’t change that much, Vettel would have 3 times Stroll’s points rather than 4 times if it wasn’t for ricciardo hitting Stroll in Hungary.

      You also should factor in things like Baku. Stroll had to retire and two of the best performing cars (the Ferrari’s retired. There were 5 DNFs that race, which certainly helped vettel a bit. There was also the pile up in Britain, and in the end there were 6 DNFs, which without them, vettel would certainly not be in the points.

      Stroll also relied on DNFs for one or two of his points, but still, they would be far closer than the points suggest. Probably only separated by 6 to 8 points.

      You said this didn’t matter earlier, and to be realistic it doesn’t, but the fact they both have pretty much the same number of laps ahead of one another (and both have had similar luck) does show that there is not a big difference between them. Plus the fact that in the races that are fair to compare, they both would have finished ahead of eachother the same number of times.

      Unfortunately, with teams this far down the grid, finishing outside the points doesn’t show that you have actually sometimes had a decent race, and that is what stroll has had more of than people realise. I think the article was right with the points made, and vettel only being ranked just ahead.

      1. You forgot to add Vettel missed two races missed many points due to strategy calls. No the point gap would have been greater than 4 times.

        1. Exactly. The gap between Stroll and Vettel is much bigger than the gap between Ocon and Alonso. What more should anyone expect from Vettel in a dreadful car? If this was Alonso he would be praised to the heavens.

  7. Alonso 4? Nah. This is more of the Fernando hype, as the Kevin one. As much as he is a great personality in the sports (lot of TV time I agree) Fernando is one to leave points on the table, when things dont quiet go his way. Fact is that Ocon is beating him on pace nd on points so far in the season. And then there’s Lando & Hamilton are miles apart here? I think the view of the racefan.net team that graded these ranks are looking at probably the first 5 races of the season, & not the rest. Seem
    better ones out there. Check out WFT1. Seems more fan driven yet right on point

    1. ‘Fact is that Ocon is beating him on pace’

      That’s not a fact.

  8. Hard to judge Norris, not the speed but if he has indeed performed at his limit, he has no competition no marker.

    1. Don’t think he will perform consistently in a top team yet to be a championship contender. Something is still off, maybe he can still get there, he has the talent, just needs the opportunity.

      1. Stephen Taylor
        21st August 2022, 15:52

        What exactly is off aabout Norris himself?

    2. I still doubt Norris because he wasn’t better than Sainz in their time together. And Sainz is looking pretty limited now at the big stage.

      Ricciardo unfortunately is no reference. Anything Norris does is considered great because there’s a non factor on the sister car.

  9. Easiest list to agree. Those drivers make it simple. In equal equipment, the order might shuffle a little, but it would still be those five in my opinion.

    Great reading.

    1. I would make it a top six though.

      1. Stephen Taylor
        21st August 2022, 15:49

        What is still off?

  10. Will, needs to stop over inflating Alonso’s scores. I think most posters have noticed that Alonso can do no wrong for Will.

  11. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    21st August 2022, 14:39

    Alonso hasn’t been that good. No way he’s quicker and more consistent than the Mercedes duo who have extracted nearly every point they could of out of their cars. But that’s the fun of a subjective game.

    For me Max first, then flip a coin between Lando, Charles, George and Lewis.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      21st August 2022, 14:40

      Not Charles actually he’s made too many high profile mistakes.

      1. Again he has but he has lost far more points due to team . Also max did spin in Barcelona and Hungary but got away with it so I would cut leclerc some flak

  12. Here is my ranking of how the drivers have performed in the 2022 season at the halfway point of the season. The number in brackets represents my ranking relative to that of racefans.

    1. Max Verstappen. (0) Although he hasn’t been quite as spectacular as he was in 2021, Verstappen is still currently the best on the grid. Last year he was involved in a tense title battle with Lewis Hamilton and while the two were at a similar pace level, I rated Verstappen as the best driver as Hamilton made more mistakes. The same is true this year with new title rival Charles Leclerc, but due to Leclerc also having more bad luck, Verstappen has a huge championship lead of 80 points going into the summer break and is looking set to take his second consecutive world championship. Verstappen’s best weekend of the season so far came in Canada, where he utterly dominated qualifying, and then won despite heavy pressure from Carlos Sainz on superior tyres in the race. He was also impressive in Imola, taking the maximum points from the sprint weekend, and Hungary, charging through to win from 10th on the grid.

    Verstappen also benefitted from mistakes from Ferrari and Leclerc to win in France, Azerbaijan and Spain, the latter being his only real mistake of the season. Saudi Arabia was an impressive win where, after seemingly being outsmarted by Leclerc in Bahrain and the opening stages of Jeddah, he eventually got the better of his rival to take his first win of the season. He also has not been without his bad luck, retiring from strong second places in Bahrain and Australia, and losing a likely victory at Silverstone to damage from running over debris. Verstappen’s only poor weekend in 2022 was Monaco, where he was outpaced over the weekend by his teammate for the first time since 2018. I already consider Verstappen to be among the top 15 greatest drivers of all time, and with the potential to be top five when he eventually retires.

    2. Charles Leclerc. (0) If it wasn’t for his crucial mistakes in Imola and Paul Ricard, I would have ranked Leclerc top of this list, as he has had no weekends where he was just plain slower than Carlos Sainz, and also took a particularly impressive victory in Austria where he overtook Verstappen three times and held on despite a problem with the throttle pedal, while his wins in Bahrain and Australia were also close to perfect performances, the first including a forceful chop on Verstappen to retake the lead. Leclerc has been the unluckiest driver on the grid this season, deserving victory in Spain before an engine failure, and looking like he might take another in Baku before another engine failure.

    He also drove outstandingly in Silverstone, outpacing Carlos Sainz despite damage to the front wing and losing another victory to poor strategy as he was left out on hard tyres during the safety car, but still defended magnificently and pulled off the move of the season around the outside of Hamilton at Copse. Another noteworthy performance came in Jeddah, where he initially outsmarted Verstappen in the game of chicken with the DRS line before the Red Bull’s superior straightline speed defeated him. Leclerc has more poles than anyone this season with his lap in Spain the best of the lot. But for all these great positives, it cannot be ignored that Leclerc cost himself a huge chunk of points by spinning out of the lead in France, arguably ending his title hopes, while his crash in Imola was probably more clumsy, although it cost fewer points. Leclerc is surely a champion in the making, but he is not quite the complete package yet.

    3. Lando Norris. (0) It was very close between the three Brits for third place but Norris just edges it. Like Verstappen, he hasn’t been as spectacular as he was last year, largely due to the car being less competitive, but he continues to deliver great performances almost every race and is utterly dominating race winner Daniel Ricciardo in the same car, and looking like ending his teammate’s career. Norris’ best drive this season probably came in Imola where he finished on the podium, but he was also outstanding in Monaco, with sixth, and Hungary, particularly in qualifying. His drives in Britain and France were also good although he was beaten by Alonso to the position of top of the midfield.

    Norris also put in a solid drive in Australia to top the midfield although Ricciardo was faster in the closing stages, and had a decent drive in Jeddah to finish seventh despite the car being far from its best. His qualifying lap in Bahrain, despite only being good enough for 13th, was also a standout lap. His drive in Spain is also worth a mention to get points and comfortably beat Ricciardo despite an illness. The negatives for Norris this season have been off-days in Miami and Montreal, the latter a particularly poor drive, and to a lesser extent Baku. But Norris hasn’t made any significant mistakes, and his points total in relation to Ricciardo is quite telling, and isn’t just down to the poor season from Ricciardo. If he gets the right car, I still see Norris as a champion of the future.

    4. Lewis Hamilton. (+2) Apparently Hamilton’s bad start to the season was due to trialling different setups in order to improve the Mercedes, but as he would have played a part in choosing them I don’t think that can excuse the woeful drives in Jeddah and particularly Imola where he failed to pass Gasly for the entire race and ended up 13th while Russell was fourth. Hamilton was beaten by George Russell in all seven races spanning Jeddah to Baku, and although two of these, Australia and Miami, were down to badly-timed safety cars, there can be no doubt that Russell was the quicker driver during that time. Hamilton’s drive in Spain is worth a mention, though, as he was relegated to last following contact with Magnussen but drove a great race from then on to take fourth, bettering the leaders’ pace, before further problems.

    However, in the subsequent five races, Hamilton has arguably been the best on the grid along with Verstappen, and has finished on the podium and beaten Russell on each occasion. Silverstone was his first real chance of a win and perhaps he would have managed it without the late safety car, although Leclerc probably had him covered, and then Hamilton took further podiums in Austria, which was slightly lucky after he crashed in qualifying, and France which was on merit and in the improved Mercedes he was almost able to match Verstappen’s pace. Then Hamilton’s best drive of the season came in Hungary, where he started seventh due to a DRS problem but charged through to second, passing Russell along the way. He currently sits sixth in the championship but in the improved Mercedes I think he could end up third, and will surely win a race in the second half of the season.

    5. George Russell. (0) In the tight margins between the three British drivers, Russell would be third on this list if it weren’t for the fact that I think he was predominantly to blame for the lap one incident at Silverstone. He is ahead of Hamilton in the championship but I think he has had better luck. In the early part of the season, Russell was shocking the F1 world by consistently outperforming Lewis Hamilton. He may have been lucky on a few occasions, but his drive in Imola was outstanding, fighting through to fourth from the midfield while Hamilton made no progress, and he led the race briefly in Spain with some solid defending against Verstappen.

    Russell also outperformed Hamilton in Jeddah, Monaco and Baku, and even if his teammate was trialling different setups it was a very impressive set of results and for a time he was in a clear third place in this ranking. But the Silverstone race was a major blow as he moved across on Gasly and Zhou, causing the Mercedes to clip the Alfa Romeo and send Zhou into a violent crash. Russell retired as a result, his only result outside the top five all season. In the following races Russell was outperformed by Hamilton and hit Perez in Austria, but he did very well to take podiums in France, after mugging Perez on the restart, and Hungary after a sensational maiden pole position. The ranking is perhaps slightly harsh and he could easily be two places higher, but Russell has proved himself to be a great signing by the Mercedes team.

    6. Fernando Alonso. (-2) He may be sitting down in 10th in the championship behind his teammate, but Alonso has certainly been the stronger Alpine driver over the first half of the season. At the start of the season he did a good job but was consistently unlucky, retiring in Jeddah following a strong drive and in Imola after a good qualifying, but also making errors in Miami and being somewhat lacklustre in Bahrain. The one race that really stands out from the opening stages of the season for Alonso was Australia, where he was on a magical lap in qualifying that *might* have been good enough for pole position had he not suffered a failure and crashed, and the subsequent race was underwhelming.

    But over the next stages of the season, Alonso has clearly established himself as the lead drive at Alpine with some great drives. In Canada, he started on the front row for the first time since 2012, breaking the record for the longest time between successive front rows, with a great lap in qualifying in the wet, although he was unlucky again in the race and finished ninth after a penalty. In Silverstone he won the midfield battle and hung on well to the leaders at the end, while he repeated that win in France after a superb move on Russell and Norris on lap one, and also came through from the back well in Spain and Austria. Despite his age, Alonso is still among the best on the grid and it is great that he will be staying for another two years, although I’m not sure the move to Aston Martin will be a good one for him.

    7. Valtteri Bottas. (0) It has been a half-season of two halves for Bottas, who initially seemed as though his move to the midfield with Alfa Romeo had been a great one, as he thrived under a less pressured environment and was sometimes even challenging Mercedes, but in more recent races he has begun to drop back and is sometimes being outpaced by Zhou. In Bahrain he qualified brilliantly with sixth, then dropped back with a poor opening lap but recovered to his original position. He then drove well in Saudi Arabia and Australia before another standout performance in Imola, where he hunted down Russell in the latter stages and ultimately finished fifth.

    In the next two races, Bottas dominated the midfield, comfortably beating both Mercedes drivers in Miami before the late safety car, where a poor mistake dropped him behind them. Then in Spain he was sixth, with no threat from Alpine or McLaren behind and was leading the unofficial F1.5 championship. He was tipped for great things in Monaco but some problems in practice perhaps contributed to an underwhelming performance, although he was still third in these rankings at that time. But from an awful weekend in Baku onwards, his season changed as Bottas was outdriven by Zhou Guanyu in Baku, Montreal and Silverstone. He was back on top for the most recent three races but the Alfa Romeo has lost some of its competitivity and Bottas is no longer top of the midfield. But the move to Alfa Romeo still appears to have done him some good.

    8. Carlos Sainz. (+2) At the start of the season, Sainz appeared to be having a pretty awful time in the Ferrari. After being outdriven by his teammate in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, he then had a shocker of a weekend in Australia, needlessly crashing out while running low in the midfield. Then in Imola he crashed again in qualifying and was taken out by Ricciardo, and in Spain he spun into the gravel and then failed to recover and was briefly overtaken by a Mercedes that had been last on lap one, and in a race which his teammate had dominated before an engine failure. At this point, Sainz sat a lowly 15th in these rankings, but from Monaco his season began to change for the better.

    Second place in Monaco was a solid result for Sainz, who didn’t have the raw pace of his teammate but correctly overrode Ferrari’s strategy and was unlucky not to win as a result. Then in Canada he challenged Verstappen for victory and it was only a great drive from the Red Bull driver which denied him. Sainz finally took an overdue maiden victory in Silverstone, again correctly overriding Ferrari’s strategy by attacking Leclerc on the restart, but it was far from his most convincing performance of the season with a few mistakes and being outpaced by Leclerc with front wing damage. But Sainz’s best drive of the season came in Paul Ricard, where he started from the back due to an engine change but surely would otherwise have taken pole, and then he charged through to third, including a sublime pass on Sergio Perez, before Ferrari pitted him and he dropped to fifth. He may not be champion material but Sainz is a solid number two at Ferrari.

    9. Sergio Perez. (-1) Perez is another driver who had an excellent start to the season and was threatening to be third in these rankings for a time, but has dropped back significantly with a woeful run of form going into the summer break. Perez stayed close to teammate Verstappen in Bahrain, Australia and Imola at the start of the year, but was most impressive in Saudi Arabia where he took his first pole position, becoming the driver with the longest wait for a maiden pole, but was denied a shot of victory with a badly-timed Virtual Safety Car. After being asked to allow Verstappen through in Spain, that victory finally came in Monaco where he genuinely outdrove Verstappen all weekend for the first time as teammates, and Red Bull’s superior strategy got him ahead of the Ferrari pair for his first win of the season, putting him in title contention.

    Qualifying second, ahead of his teammate, and finishing second in Baku showed a continuation of his great form, but this ended with a disastrous race in Canada where he crashed in qualifying and then suffered a mechanical failure. Silverstone was a good drive as he fought through to fourth from the back, then second thanks to the late safety car, but three poor races in Austria, with some bad luck and an incident with Russell, France where he struggled for pace and was mugged by Russell, and Hungary again with little pace, has dropped him down to ninth in these rankings. Still, Perez has clearly had an upturn in performance compared to last season, and is the ideal number two for Red Bull.

    10. Esteban Ocon. (+2) Contrary to the points table, Ocon has not been the quicker of the two Alpine drivers this season, but he has again shown himself to be a safe, consistent pair of hands and racks up the points while Alonso is more spectacular. There have been quite a few occasions this season where Alonso has looked faster through the weekend but has ended up behind Ocon on the grid, or has made mistakes in the race and Ocon has taken more points. His best drive of the season came in Austria, where he finished top of the midfield in qualifying, the sprint and the race. Ocon also drove well in Saudi Arabia with his great battle with his teammate and won the midfield, and in Miami where he came through to eighth from the back.

    Other standout results for Ocon include Montreal, where he finished sixth despite being outpaced by his teammate, and Hungary qualifying where he was fifth. Ocon also had solid drives in Bahrain and in Spain to take good points. There have been some off-days, such as Imola and Baku where he showed little pace, and Monaco where he was penalised for being too aggressive in defence against Hamilton, while he was also penalised for hitting Tsunoda at Paul Ricard. Ocon is a solid and dependable driver at Alpine and is also running a close second to Norris in the unofficial F1.5 championship. But it remains to be seen whether he will next year be in a position of team leader for the first time in his career.

    11. Sebastian Vettel. (+3) The four-time champion announced his retirement before the Hungarian Grand Prix and will be sorely missed in Formula 1, even though he is no longer the force he once was. This season started badly for him, missing the first two races due to coronavirus and then having a shocker in the third race in Australia, crashing out having run at the back. But since then he has got his act together and is back to being a solid midfield driver, although no longer the best on the grid. He has comfortably outperformed teammate Lance Stroll in qualifying and the races, although the car has probably been seventh to ninth fastest in most rounds making it difficult for either driver to make a real impression.

    Vettel’s best drive was probably his sixth place in Baku, despite making a mistake and going down the runoff area. He also scored good points in Imola, where he also made Q3, and Monaco, as well as Silverstone despite starting from the back of the grid. His drive in Spain was also fairly good. The team have struggled in qualifying in recent races, even posting three consecutive double Q1 knockouts, but race pace has been better and in the last two races Vettel has challenged for points, taking tenth in Hungary although he was outraced by Stroll, and just missing out in Paul Ricard after slight contact with his teammate at the final corner. I hope he can round out his career with another podium in the second half of the season but that seems unlikely.

    12. Kevin Magnussen. (-3) Having left Formula 1 at the end of 2020, Magnussen was given a shock reprieve at the start of the year, replacing Nikita Mazepin, and has very much made the most of his opportunity, taking a brilliant fifth place on his first race back in Bahrain and beating the total points haul of the Haas team from the last two seasons combined. Without the late driver change, Haas would probably not have scored a point in the first nine races of the season, so it was the right decision to bring back Magnussen. Magnussen comfortably had the upper hand over teammate Schumacher in the early part of the season, with further great drives in Saudi Arabia and an excellent fourth on the grid in Imola.

    However, there have also been some poor races from Magnussen and in recent rounds Schumacher has begun to match him. Miami was a poor race for Magnussen, as he was involved in multiple incidents, and he wasted good qualifying sessions in both Spain and Canada due to minor contact with Lewis Hamilton, both cases a racing incident. He also had a few quiet rounds when the car was uncompetitive but seems to have regained his stride with two strong drives in recent races. In Austria, he qualified sixth and scored points in the sprint, before dropping to eighth in the race despite issues with the car, and in France he showed great pace to make Q3 and then pass seven cars on the opening lap from the back of the grid. Perhaps his first podium since his debut is not far away.

    13. Pierre Gasly. (-2) After his brilliant season in 2021, this year has been something of a flop for Gasly, and after dominating teammate Tsunoda last year the gap has now been cut significantly to the point that Tsunoda has often outraced him. Some of this will be due to Tsunoda improving but I also think a big part of it is a drop in performance from Gasly. He has still driven some strong races, comfortably winning the midfield battle in Azerbaijan most notably, but a return to Red Bull now seems more and more unlikely and it surprised me greatly when he renewed his contract with Alpha Tauri for 2023.

    Gasly’s best drive of the season came in Baku, finishing fifth having been top of the midfield all weekend, but another impressive drive came in Bahrain as he beat Tsunoda by some margin in qualifying and was running in a solid points paying position despite the uncompetitive car before the fire. His points finishes in Jeddah and Albert Park were also impressive and his season was initially looking similar to the last two before Imola and Spain where he was totally beaten by Tsunoda, and Miami where he slightly clumsily hit Norris. Gasly drove very well in Monaco with some good overtakes but then had poor races in Austria, with a few incidents, and France. I think he will be regretting staying with Alpha Tauri now that the Alpine seat has become available, and will possibly be attempting to get out of his contract to move there.

    14. Alexander Albon. (-1) After a pretty awful final season with Red Bull that didn’t reflect his ability, it is good that Albon has been given another chance in Formula 1 and is rebuilding his reputation with a decent first season with Williams, the slowest car on the grid. He has surprisingly beaten Latifi by a similar margin to George Russell, although Latifi seems to be struggling more this season, and had an excellent run of races in the early part of the season, although he has also made some mistakes in 2022. Albon’s best drive was his first points finish of the season in Australia where he did the entire race on one set of tyres before the final lap, where pitting dropped him from seventh to tenth.

    Immediately after, Albon put in two more standout performances in Imola, where he beat Lewis Hamilton on merit, and in Miami where he finished ninth in an incident-packed race in the midfield. Albon has had a few more decent races with the upgraded Williams, such as Austria where he challenged for points, and he also showed great pace in Monaco while running at the back of the field. But there have also been mistakes at Monaco, as well as hitting other cars in Jeddah and Hungary, and finishing a distant last in Spain. Hopefully he will get more points finishes in the quicker Williams over the second half of the season and break back into the midfield in 2023.

    15. Lance Stroll. (+2) This is now Stroll’s sixth season and the theme of him being below average but certainly not the worst driver on the grid continues, with little sign of improvement. A driver of his experience would be expected to score more points than he has for Aston Martin, with Vettel usually outperforming him, and he has had a few incidents mixed in with some good performances. His qualifying weakness seems to be creeping back into the picture with a string of seven consecutive Q1 eliminations but race pace has been better for Stroll. He seemed to get back on form in the last few races of the season with a strong drive in Hungary that might have been rewarded with ninth had he not been hit by Ricciardo.

    Stroll scored points in Imola, Miami, Canada and France, but never higher than tenth. His drive in Miami was strong as he had made Q3 but been forced to start from the back, while he also defended well from a string of cars in Canada, and hold off his teammate in France. He also did well in Austria before having too much tyre wear. But Stroll also had some poor races, crashing in qualifying in Baku and in Australia, a clumsy incident with Latifi. Stroll also turned in on Albon in Jeddah and struggled in Monaco, while being outqualified by substitute driver Nico Hulkenberg in Bahrain was a low point. It remains to be seen how Stroll will do up against another world champion in Fernando Alonso for 2023, but he will most likely be a tougher opponent even than Vettel.

    16. Yuki Tsunoda. (0) After a very poor rookie season, Tsunoda has been one of the most improved drivers of 2022 in terms of pace, and has significantly cut the deficit to Gasly. However, he still ranks down in 16th because I think a big part of that has been a drop in performance from Gasly, and Tsunoda also hasn’t cut out the mistakes from his driving. He was also very unlucky in France to get spun by Ocon on the first lap following his best qualifying session. The two races where Tsunoda totally dominated Gasly, something that never happened in 2021, were Imola and Spain.

    The first was his best drive of the season, as he was eliminated in Q1 but fought his way through brilliantly to claim seventh, passing the likes of Magnussen and Vettel along the way. Spain only rewarded Tsunoda with tenth but he again beat Gasly convincingly. He took further points for eighth in Bahrain with some good overtaking, and was unlucky not to take sixth in Baku when his rear wing broke. But Tsunoda’s season has not been without incident, the worst coming in Silverstone where he spun and collected teammate Gasly, ruining the race for Alpha Tauri. He also clumsily crashed into the wall exiting the pit lane in Canada, and had a strange lack of pace in Austria. These things hurt Tsunoda’s ranking, but he still has potential and I think he is worth another season with Alpha Tauri.

    17. Daniel Ricciardo. (+2) In 2021, Ricciardo was probably the disappointment of the season with his inability to stay close to the pace of Lando Norris. This season most expected, with more experience at McLaren, Ricciardo to get back to his best and at least challenge Norris for superiority in the team, but somehow Ricciardo has instead gone backwards, and looks set to have his contract terminated in favour of Oscar Piastri, a move that is surely the right one for McLaren. Ricciardo has had a few decent races, his home Grand Prix in Australia certainly the highlight, where he finished sixth just behind Norris having looked quicker than his teammate, but most of the season has been utter misery for the Honey Badger.

    Ricciardo’s other decent races have been Austria, France, Jeddah and Baku. In the first two he was unable to stay with his teammate’s pace but still scored decent points, and the same would likely have been true in Jeddah had Ricciardo not retired. Baku was a rare occasion where Ricciardo drove as well as Norris and beat him in the race. His only major mistake of the season came in Imola, hitting Sainz at the first corner and ruining his race, but his main issue has been a total lack of pace in multiple races, with Silverstone perhaps the worst, but Miami and Monaco also very poor and he totally fell away in Spain having qualified well. If 2022 is Ricciardo’s final season it will be a sad end to a very good career, but perhaps he will be able to return to Alpine for next season.

    18. Zhou Guanyu. (-3) Considering he is a rookie, Zhou has done a decent job this season and probably as well as Alfa Romeo expected of him. However, it can’t be ignored that he has usually been well off Bottas’ pace and the Alfa Romeo is certainly better than the five points he has scored, even accounting for some poor reliability. Zhou did have a great run of form from Baku to Silverstone where he outperformed Bottas, although that did seem to be partly down to poor form from his teammate. But Zhou has shown himself to not be short of racecraft and in the season opener at Bahrain, where he scored his first point, he made some nice overtakes.

    Following that good race in Bahrain, Zhou had a difficult run of races, just missing out on points in the first two but seeming to drop further away from Bottas and in Miami and Spain he was a long way behind his teammate when he retired. The same was true in Monaco where Zhou made an amazing save while trying to pass Tsunoda, but in Baku, Zhou’s fortunes changed and he was quicker than his teammate all weekend but again retired with mechanical issues. In Canada he finally scored points again with a strong eighth, and while he was behind Bottas he had again been the quicker Alfa Romeo driver and had done very well to beat him into Q3 in the wet. Zhou further underlined his wet weather skills by making Q3 again in Silverstone, but was involved in a violent crash at the start of the race for which he was entirely blameless. The final three races of the season have been less good for Zhou, particularly France where he was slow and hit Schumacher, but he has shown that the potential is there.

    19. Mick Schumacher. (-1) I’m sure that, if Mazepin was still his teammate, Schumacher would rank far higher on this list, but Magnussen has shown that the Haas car is actually pretty good and Schumacher has had a difficult first half of the season with far too many large crashes and a lack of pace compared to his teammate. However, since finally getting his first points in Silverstone he has found his form and is on a good run, so is actually very close to the drivers ahead up to Stroll in these rankings and could move up in the second half of the season. The main low points of Schumacher’s season have been his two massive crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, the former preventing him from starting the race.

    As well as this, Schumacher struggled for pace at the start of the season, missing out on points in Bahrain and then not getting another real chance until Miami, which he blew by hitting Vettel. In Spain he qualified well but faded, and following his Monaco crash he had a lacklustre weekend in Baku. But his season turned around in Canada with an excellent sixth in qualifying ruined by reliability problems. Then in Britain he finally scored his first points with eighth, outperforming Magnussen and coming from the back to do it. He went even better in Austria, staying close to Magnussen in qualifying and the sprint and then passing him in the race to take a great sixth. France and Hungary were less strong but Schumacher seems to now be close to Magnussen’s level and hopefully will have a strong second half of the season, and stay with Haas for 2023.

    20. Nicholas Latifi. (0) After a decent rookie season and clear signs of improvement in 2021, Latifi has inexplicably slipped back in 2022 and has been the clear slowest driver of the season, with a total lack of pace compared to Albon and a few crashes. While he never looked like a potential podium finisher of the future, it is strange that Latifi has gone backwards so much in 2022 and is cut adrift at the bottom of the rankings. His weekend in Saudi Arabia was a total disaster with two crashes, and probably the worst weekend of any driver this year.

    Apart from this, it is difficult to highlight any obvious low points in Latifi’s season because he was always so far off the pace, with this perhaps being most obvious in the races like Imola and Australia where Albon went well, and Canada was also a very disappointing race. But Latifi was able to beat Albon in Spain with a decent drive, and there was one clear highlight of the season in Silverstone, by far his best drive as he made Q3 despite running an older spec Williams than his teammate, and then kept pace with the midfield and was unlucky to end up out of the points. It seems likely that he will not be kept on at Williams, but hopefully he will at least find his 2021 form in the second half of the season because Latifi is not as bad a driver as this season would suggest.

    1. Stephen Taylor
      21st August 2022, 15:05

      Canada wasn’t Lando’s fault . Both Mclaren’s were screwed by poor pitstops that day

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      21st August 2022, 15:53

      As is often the case, i do agree with your rankings more.

      However, one point about Bottas’s slump, I wouldn’t say he was “outdriven by Zhou” in canada if it is the race you are counting.

      Bottas did have a poor qualifying, and even a poor start, followed by going off track and hitting a bollard. All negative so far. But despite the bad start, Bottas will have quite easily overcut him due to his pace despite Zhou having a free pit stop during the VSC. Despite Bottas still not having stopped, he had got to being 13 seconds ahead of his team mate. Yes Bottas and Zhou did get a free stop when tsunoda crashed, but i thought it was pretty clear that Bottas outdrove Zhou this weekend (other than qualifying) but even that wasn’t too bad considering Bottas barely got 40 timed laps of practice.

  13. Alonso collects track penalties, but is ahead of Russell.

    Well….that doesn’t make much sense if you take the age argument out.

  14. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st August 2022, 15:34

    Mid-season rankings are a bit like trying to evaluate a movie in the middle. Sure, you can do that with a terrible movie but it’s a bit harder to do with the better movies especially if you rank them.

    Is Birds better than Vertigo if you only watch half the movie? We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  15. @willwood Has Daniel really outqualifyed Lando in all races? ;)

  16. To paraphrase the Crows out of the film Dumbo-

    ” But I be done seen about everything, when I see Alonso in fifth “

    1. Doh, talking of Dumbos’ should of put fourth :-)

  17. These are fun reads, thanks for making this.

  18. Lando Norris
    Beat team mate in qualifying 0/13
    @willwood might want to check on that

  19. Thanks Will, I don’t share the same opinion on some of the positions but they’re in the right ball park for the most part.

  20. “Leclerc’s relentless speed throughout the season has been unquestionable and does not have himself to blame for why he doesn’t have multiple more victories heading into the second leg of the season.”

    I don’t understand how that can be said, the very paragraph after explaining that he lost 2 races completely unenforced.

    Relentless speed does not win a championship, it needs to be tempered with consistency. Throw in some self-belief and determination rather than just doing as told (Hamilton and Verstappen are great at this) and then you have a champion.

  21. I’ve looked at each race and averaged my score:

    1 Verstappen 7.38
    2 Leclerc 7.15
    3 Russell 6.69
    4 Norris 6.46
    5 Hamilton 6.38
    6 Bottas 6.15
    =7 Sainz 6.08
    =7 Alonso 6.08
    9 Perez 5.85
    10 Vettel 5.82
    11 Ocon 5.69
    =12 Magnussen 5.62
    =12 Gasly 5.62
    14 Albon 5.46
    15 Stroll 5.38
    16 Ricciardo 5
    17 Zhou 4.92
    =18 Latifi 4.85
    =18 Schumacher 4.85
    20 Tsunoda 4.77

  22. Alonso is way overrated in this list…

  23. Overall I think the biggest surprise in the top 5 is alonso being this high, I wouldn’t have put him in here, but when you take out alonso I agree with the order, verstappen ahead with a big margin, then leclerc, who made a bit more costing mistakes, then norris who got the most out of a not always so good mclaren, then russell who has been incredibly consistent, then I’d have put hamilton, who was outperformed during his early experiments but then came back strong and has good chances to end up ahead in the 2nd part of the season; overall agree with most of the mid season rankings, think alonso and magnussen were the biggest surprises, while I still would’ve put alonso in the top 10 and ahead of ocon.

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