Vote for your 2022 Formula 1 Driver of the Year

Debates and Polls

Posted on

| Written by

At the end of another season, there are 22 weekends’ worth of racing to look back on to evaluate each of the 20 regular drivers who competed through the vast majority of the 2022 season.

This year’s drivers’ championship was ultimately far less competitive than last season, with the champion decided by only the 18th out of the 22 rounds. But there were some intriguing battles for final positions in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, with a handful even coming down to the final lap of the final race of the season.

Some drivers joined new teams, entered into their final season with their current teams – knowingly or otherwise – or rejoined the grid after an absence in the case of Kevin Magnussen. There was just a single rookie in 2022 – Zhou Guanyu – however Formula 2 and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries made an unexpected grand prix debut in Monza. However, as he participated in only one race and Nico Hulkenberg made just two substitutions for Sebastian Vettel, this poll will only feature the 20 drivers who raced the majority of the season.

Of the drivers throughout the field this season, which was the most outstanding to you? Whether it was one of the five race winners in 2022 or someone who did not appear on the podium at all, this is your opportunity to vote on which driver impressed you the most during this season.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Vote for your 2022 F1 driver of the year

Who was the best driver of the 2022 Formula 1 season?

  • Max Verstappen (52%)
  • George Russell (11%)
  • Fernando Alonso (10%)
  • Lando Norris (9%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (5%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (3%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (2%)
  • Charles Leclerc (2%)
  • Nicholas Latifi (1%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (1%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (1%)
  • Alexander Albon (1%)
  • Mick Schumacher (1%)
  • Zhou Guanyu (0%)
  • Yuki Tsunoda (0%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)

Total Voters: 183

Loading ... Loading ...

A RaceFans account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here. When this poll is closed the result will be displayed instead of the voting form.

Debates and polls

Browse all debates and polls

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

56 comments on “Vote for your 2022 Formula 1 Driver of the Year”

  1. Can’t wait for the explanations as to why someone other than the dominant World Champion should be considered the driver of the year.

    1. I’ve been watching F1 since 1997 and for me, Max this year has delivered one of the best whole-season performances I’ve ever seen. I think it was phenomenal.

      However, would that not really depend rather heavily on your perceived relative performance of the cars? What if you think that Max obtained 99.1% of the max performance of the Red Bull and Lando obtained 99.5% of the max performance of the McLaren? Would you not then think that Lando outperformed Max?

      1. Good point, very hard to compare drivers who both destroyed their team mates but had cars very different in performance.

      2. What if you think that Max obtained 99.1% of the max performance of the Red Bull and Lando obtained 99.5% of the max performance of the McLaren? Would you not then think that Lando outperformed Max?

        This is unfortunately unknowable. Latifi pointed this out during his latest/last appearance on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast: sometimes he was 0,1 seconds behind Albon but the car had notably different parts and the simulations suggested a 0,3 deficit in pace. An outside observer would still have noted “Albon beat Latifi again” but it’s often more complicated than that. It gets even more difficult to say when you’re not just comparing cars within a team, but also teams and entirely different cars.

        Norris has been getting a lot of praise, but we don’t know if that McLaren can do better. Maybe it can. Ross Brawn’s biography features a passage on his frustrations about his last season Benetton with the B196, which he considered every bit as good as the title winning Benetton of the previous season. But Alesi and Berger struggled a lot, and even noted in their first test that the B195 was ‘toxic’ (IIRC) to drive.

        Hopefully Piastri will prove a more interesting benchmark for Norris than Ricciardo was.

      3. agree wholeheartedly, it’s easy to appear to be All Conquering when you’re in the best car on the grid, but when your car is at best half to a full second behind the best it’s a damned harder job to get close – I think Lando did a stellar job in the McLaren, and he will eventually get all his just rewards with the wins he deserves – whether they’re in a McLaren or some other Manufacturers Car remains to be seen, but I do believe he is a Champion Driver waiting to happen.

      4. True, but unknowable. In addition, I would give Max extra credit for extracting that performance in a championship battle. That gives more pressure than when racing as best of the rest.

    2. Max is a fine driver, but I don’t like him at all. I might be showing my age, but I find his demeanour quite repulsive. Off track he presents himself as this calm level headed individual yet in the heat of the moment his choice of words on the live radio is one of petulance, swearing every other word and when things don’t go his way he feels free to slate his team or whinge that things aren’t working. Sure, adrenaline runs freely but say nothing at all other than **** expletives. As a role model he has a long way to go for me to ever think he has GOAT status. Most drivers stood out in some form this year. I voted George Russell for his consistency in a car that was third best yet scored a pole and win – regardless of the circumstances that shows great promise for the future.

      1. @tsgoodchild You are of course entitled to your own opinion, but Hamilton is also perfectly capable of complaining on the radio the moment things don’t go his way. Not to mention Alonso.
        The top drivers all do it, and if you’re telling me that you’ve never said or done anything you wouldn’t normally whilst the adrenaline is running, I put it to you that you are mistaken.
        Regarding the swearing, I’ve always assumed that that’s a tactic so that FOM don’t broadcast as many of his messages

        1. As I said, adrenaline runs freely and we say things, but some demeanor and class wouldn’t go amiss. When I think of Max, I don’t see a role model, and for that I don’t look at him fondly as an all round driver of the year. Max has been in F1 for 8 years now, its time he grew up.

    3. It doesn’t mean Max isn’t great, but it’s easier to see talent show in mediocre cars than dominant ones. Alonso and Hamilton would have easily won the WDC in that car as well. A few other drivers would likely too (LN, GR), but since they haven’t proven their nerve while in a WDC battle I won’t include them. I don’t include CL cause he was making lots of mistakes. Not just the team.

      The guys who did the most with the least this season are Norris and Alonso. I include these infographics presented by Jolyon Palmer, which tell the tale IMO.

      https://postimg.cc/gallery/8vZTJL0

      1. Interesting infographs.
        When you look at how VER exceeded PER even more than NOR did over RIC in % terms then I cannot understand how PER gets rated one of the top 10 drivers this year by so many.
        ALO and LEC similarly well outperformed their teammates, but OCO and SAI were also regularly rated top 10.
        Seems to be that that the drivers do get rated for their car’s performance.

  2. Here are my rankings of how the 20 regular drivers performed in the 2022 Formula 1 season, with the brackets representing their positions relative to last year, as well as some awards.

    Driver rankings:

    1. Max Verstappen (no change). An exceptionally easy choice for number one on this list, Verstappen had an extraordinary season, dominating the championship with a record fifteen race wins, despite having a car that, while the best on the grid, and helped by many blunders for Ferrari, did not have a huge advantage. In my opinion, it was probably in the top ten greatest ever season performances in Formula 1. Verstappen’s best drive came in Spa-Francorchamps. Hit with a grid penalty that would force him to start from the back anyway, he set the fastest qualifying lap anyway by six tenths of a second, and then won by almost twenty seconds having made the final pass for the lead on Carlos Sainz on lap 17. Verstappen’s next best drive came in Suzuka, where he pulled away from Leclerc at an extraordinary rate to win by almost thirty seconds, and in a significantly shortened race. It was also the race in which he secured a thoroughly deserved second championship.

    Verstappen’s performances in the wet were a particular strength of his this year, often going a second faster than anyone else in the wet qualifying sessions of Montreal, Silverstone and Singapore, although bad luck denied him pole on two of those occasions. His drives in Imola, Mexico and Abu Dhabi deserve credit for total dominance, while his wins in Hungary and Monza were other examples of making his way to the front from lowly grid slots, and he recovered superbly in COTA to pass both Leclerc and Hamilton and win yet another race. Verstappen also once again wiped the floor with teammate Sergio Perez, genuinely outqualified by him just three times, in Jeddah, Monaco and Baku (incidentally, all street tracks), while Monaco was the only weekend in which he was genuinely second-best to Perez, as he fought back to win the other two.

    The only blemish on Verstappen’s remarkable season was that he still made a few mistakes. He spun in Spain and in Hungary, although neither ultimately cost him victory, but later in the year Verstappen locked up and went off while passing Norris in Singapore, and hit Hamilton in Brazil. Although both were responsible for the incident, it did show that Verstappen’s driving can still be a little too aggressive, particularly when he is battling Hamilton. But despite this few moments, it was an amazing season that, in my opinion, made Verstappen the 12th name on the list of absolute elite drivers in F1 history, and I think he could go on to dominate the next decade. However, I don’t think he should win in 2023, as I would hope that Red Bull’s penalty for the budget cap infringement is sufficient to stop that happening. Even though he was the best driver, Verstappen’s first world title will always be devalued by the final lap, and the budget cap infringement, but this year there can be no doubt that he was a class above the rest and a thoroughly deserving champion.

    2. Charles Leclerc (up 2). After an amazing start to the season, Leclerc wasn’t able to put together a title challenge. But even if he hadn’t had a huge amount of bad luck this year with reliability and strategy, and even if he hadn’t made some key mistakes, Verstappen and Red Bull were still simply too strong. I am pleased that Leclerc was able to claim second in the championship, as he certainly deserved it, but he could have been a hundred points clear of Perez. Although Leclerc is not the complete driver yet; his tyre management skills are not on the level of Hamilton and Verstappen, and he is still error prone, on outright speed he is probably as fast as anyone out there, evidenced by his nine pole positions, and I also consider him to be the most exciting driver on the grid. If I were to make a list of the ten best overtakes of 2022, half of them would be Leclerc, none better than his move around the outside of Hamilton on old hard tyres at Copse. It was also great to watch him sliding around in Singapore while in pursuit of Perez, on slick tyres on a damp track.

    Leclerc won just three races in 2022, all entirely on merit. He won from pole in Bahrain following a thrilling battle for the lead with Verstappen, involving his first excellent overtake as he chopped in front of the Red Bull as they passed and repassed, and then he was fairly dominant in Australia, again from pole, and at this time he was clearly leading the championship. Leclerc wouldn’t win again until Austria, hunting down Verstappen and passing him three times including an excellent lunge, and then holding him off despite throttle problems at the end. But Leclerc’s list of races he could have won is far longer. In Spain, he was dominating the race, after a brilliant qualifying lap, when the engine let go, and the same happened in Baku, although a win was still very much in doubt on that occasion. And in COTA he made an outstanding lunge to overtake Perez.

    Strategy also let him down in Monaco and Silverstone, turning two deserved victories into fourth places, and his Silverstone drive was particularly impressive considering he had front win damage since lap one. Poor strategy also cost him in Hungary after a brilliant move for the lead on Russell, while the poor reliability caused him to have many engine penalties. As well as these incidences of terrible luck, Leclerc too made some errors which dropped him out of title contention, none worse than his crash while leading in France, which probably ended the championship battle, and Imola was an important mistake that cost him a lot of points. There was a nine-race run from Spain to Belgium in which he scored just one podium. His drive in Abu Dhabi to beat Perez in the championship was sublime, but it shouldn’t have been needed. I would love for Leclerc to win the title next year, but think that is unlikely.

    3. Lando Norris (no change). The McLaren wasn’t as competitive as last year, and as a result, Norris was not able to put in a season performance as impressive as that of 2021. But despite the lack of standout moments, he was clearly punching above his weight in the McLaren, and it required an outstanding season to beat both faster Alpines in the championship. He effectively ended Daniel Ricciardo’s career in the manner that he beat him, even more convincingly than last year, and although Ricciardo was far, far below his usual standard, there can be no doubt that Norris is a top class driver. That first win may still elude him, but he is surely a future champion.

    Norris took just one podium in 2022, with third place in Imola, but he also finished as the best midfield driver on seven other occasions. For me, his best drive was Monaco, very much a driver’s circuit, where he outqualified both Mercedes, lost out to Russell due to strategy but kept pace with the leaders and chased down Russell in the latter part of the race with a late stop to take sixth. Singapore was the other outstanding performance, where he took a very strong fourth, clearly top of the midfield, and briefly threatened Sainz for third. Hungary, COTA and Abu Dhabi was all occasions where he convincingly finished top of the midfield despite not having a clear car advantage.

    There were some disappointing races for Norris, most notably in Montreal, where he was nowhere, and he also took out Leclerc in Brazil. But despite a few off-days, there weren’t really any occasions when he was genuinely outperformed by Ricciardo, outqualified just once, in Spain due to exceeding track limits, and beaten a few times usually due to an inferior strategy, which was an impressive feat despite Ricciardo’s awful season. Norris faces a new challenge in Oscar Piastri as his teammate next year, a very exciting lineup, but in his first season I would be surprised if Piastri was able to challenge Norris, who very much deserves a race win, and in the right car I think he could win a championship, although that won’t happen for a few years yet.

    4. Lewis Hamilton (down 2). This is the lowest I have rated Hamilton since 2011, after a disappointing season in only the third-best car. Hamilton was outperformed by Russell at the start of the season but generally had the upper hand for most of it, and was unlucky to finish behind his teammate in the championship. But he only ranks marginally ahead of Russell this year due to still making a few too many mistakes. It was Hamilton’s first ever full season without a race victory, and while there were many chances that went begging, particularly towards the end of the season when the car was most competitive, on most occasions he was not to blame for this.

    Hamilton’s season started very poorly, and although he had been experimenting with setups to help the team later in the season, Hamilton still had woeful weekends in both Jeddah and Imola, failing to even reach the points in the latter as Russell was fourth from a similar grid position, and was beaten by Russell on many other occasions at the start of the year. But after showing outstanding pace in Spain following a first lap incident which may have cost him a shot of victory, his season started to turn with a brilliant drive in Silverstone, where the Mercedes’ poor tyre warmup cost him after the safety car, before which he was hunting down Leclerc for the win. Hamilton then showed outstanding pace in Hungary to fight forward to second, and probably would have won had he started from pole. His best chance to win was in Zandvoort, with a comfortable advantage that disappeared with the Tsunoda VSC.

    Then in COTA, Hamilton got closest to a win as he was beaten by Verstappen’s faster Red Bull in an exciting and fair fight. Mexico was also a lost chance, and on both occasions a better strategy might have won Hamilton the race. But in Brazil he was beaten to victory by Russell, which likely would not have happened had he not made contact with Verstappen on lap one. Both were to blame for the incident, but Hamilton perhaps felt he had to turn in on Verstappen to stop his rival walking all over him in the future. Hamilton also made key mistakes in Belgium, hitting Alonso, and Singapore, hitting the wall, which cost him considerable points. As a result, Hamilton finished an unrepresentative sixth in the championship, but with Mercedes having got more on top of the car, and Red Bull penalised, I think he will battle Verstappen for the title next year. Hopefully it will be less controversial than 2021.

    5. Fernando Alonso (up 1). This may seem like a surprisingly high ranking, but I think Alonso has been extremely unlucky this season and was actually considerably better than his teammate, Esteban Ocon, who is himself a solid driver. Obviously he isn’t as good as he was before his comeback, but the overall quality of the top drivers was a little lower than usual in 2022. The most impressive moment of Alonso’s season was one that offered absolutely no reward, his qualifying lap in Albert Park. Having been right on it all session, it genuinely looked as though he could have been on pole when a hydraulics failure caused him to crash. Alonso did take a front row start in Canada, starting second in the wet, but faded in the race.

    He was top of the midfield on five occasions this year, with fifth in Interlagos and Silverstone the highest results and two particularly strong performances. He also made a fine overtake on Russell and Norris at turn one that helped him claim sixth in Paul Ricard, and he lost a huge amount of points due to bad luck and poor reliability, with the Alpine breaking down in Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Mexico while Alonso was on for top of the midfield, and further bad luck in Austria and Monza that cost him points. But Alonso’s best drive of the season came in Austin. Despite dropping to the back mid-race after a huge shunt with Stroll, hitting the Aston Martin and then the wall at high speed having had his front wheels high off the ground (and there is no way he could not have sustained damage), he still comfortably beat Ocon and made it back into the points with seventh.

    But there were still quite a few occasions when Alonso was outpaced by Ocon, Bahrain and Japan being examples of such. He had a scruffy race in Miami, involved in a few incidents including with Gasly, while he was also too aggressive with Ocon in Brazil, probably more to blame for both their races being ruined. In Monaco, Alonso’s dubious tactics of holding up Hamilton were okay, but deliberately going down the escape road to compromise others’ laps in Baku qualifying, as Schumacher did at Rascasse in 2006, was pathetic. Alonso leaves Alpine to race for Aston Martin in 2023, although that will most likely just continue to leave him mired in the midfield. But I am extremely glad he is still racing in Formula 1, and while he is no longer at his best, Alonso is still among the best drivers in the world and is still able to showcase his considerable talent on occasion. In the right circumstances, a race win is still a possibility.

    6. George Russell (up 2). When Russell signed for Mercedes, he was generally expected to be closer to Hamilton’s pace than Valtteri Bottas had been. But few predicted that he would beat Lewis Hamilton in the championship in his first season with Mercedes. Indeed, in the first part of the season, he was consistently beating Hamilton in qualifying and the races. But it later transpired that Hamilton had been testing different setups, and once that experiment stopped he was generally faster than Russell. Fourth in the championship was a great achievement, but Russell did have a lot of good fortune and was second-best in the Mercedes team. His record of finishing in the top five in every race bar three is also impressive.

    After the Bahrain GP, Russell actually finished ahead of Hamilton in each of the next seven races, albeit with a bit of luck in some of them. After his first podium in Australia, Imola was a strong drive as Russell fought through to fourth from a lowly grid slot, while Hamilton made no progress. Then in Spain he led the race with some fantastic defending against Verstappen, eventually slipping back to third, and Russell beat his teammate on merit in both Monaco and Baku, the latter rewarding another podium. Russell would take more podiums in France, after mugging Perez on the restart, and Hungary following his first pole position despite no fastest sector times. Another brilliant result was his second in Zandvoort, although he had shadowed Hamilton all race and only passed him with the tyre advantage at the end.

    Russell’s excellent season was capped off with a thoroughly deserved maiden win in Brazil, as he forced his way past Verstappen with some great racecraft in the sprint, and controlled the race, even holding off Hamilton at the end. But Russell was involved in a few incidents this year, hitting Sainz in COTA, Schumacher in Singapore, Perez in Austria and Zhou in Silverstone. But while he wasn’t quite as good as Hamilton, to be that close to the most successful driver in history in his first season in a competitive car is a hugely impressive achievement, and I suspect Russell will challenge for a championship in the near future.

    7. Carlos Sainz (no change). After beating Charles Leclerc in the championship in 2021, albeit with a bit of luck, great things were expected of Carlos Sainz in 2022, particularly when Ferrari became competitive once again. But as it transpired, he had something of a disappointing season, struggling initially to adapt to the car and being left behind by Leclerc. But Sainz improved significantly over the course of the season, taking three poles including a particularly impressive one in Austin, and was much closer to his teammate at the end of it. Sainz may not have the speed of Leclerc, but he appears to be a more assertive driver, overriding the team’s strategy in both Monaco and Silverstone and gaining points as a result. Carlos Sainz was another driver to take his first race victory in 2022, passing Leclerc on the restart in Silverstone with fresh tyres, but that was a slightly fortunate result as he had made a few errors and his teammate had his raced ruined by strategy.

    Sainz’s best drive of the season came in Paul Ricard, where he started from the back due to an engine penalty but had been extremely quick all weekend and fought his way through to third, including a sublime overtake on Perez which lasted many corners, before pitting again and ending up third. His race in Canada was also strong, putting intense pressure on Verstappen in the closing stages of the race, and in Monza he made progress through the pack far more quickly than Perez or Hamilton to finish fourth. He also did an excellent job to finish second in Monaco, overriding the team’s decision to pit, and followed Leclerc home for a Ferrari 1-2 in Bahrain, which they would have repeated in Austria but for Sainz’s engine failure.

    But his season was not without troubles, with numerous mistakes at the start of the season costing him points. Spinning off in Albert Park, Imola qualifying and Catalunya were all significant mistakes, while he wasn’t entirely blameless in the Russell incident in COTA. He later crashed in Suzuka, and had a few days where he was significantly off Leclerc’s pace, such as Singapore. But Sainz was also quite unlucky with reliability, which meant he only just scraped fifth in the championship at the final round. I suspect next season will be a similar story for Sainz, but with Ferrari perhaps slightly less competitive.

    8. Sergio Perez (up 4). It was a better season for Perez than 2021, particularly at the start of the year when he was genuinely outpacing Verstappen on occasion, which he never did last year. But over the course of the season, his form dropped and he rarely challenged Verstappen after Baku, slipping to be the clear number two in the team, a role he played well. A few errors in the final round cost him second in the championship to Leclerc, which was a little disappointing for the team. Perez won twice in 2022, with his Singapore victory standing out as his best drive of the year, holding off Charles Leclerc in wet conditions as the two pulled away from the rest time and time again, and despite a safety car infringement Perez got the gap he needed to win. But had Verstappen not had an issue in qualifying, it would have been different.

    Perez’s other victory was a little more fortunate in Monaco, but it was the only race that he was able to genuinely outperform Verstappen all weekend in, and Red Bull’s superior strategy got them ahead of Ferrari, and Perez then did a good defensive job. He also outqualified Verstappen in Jeddah, where he took pole but was demoted to fourth by a badly timed VSC, and in Baku, finishing second, and this perhaps showed Perez to be a very strong driver on street tracks. Second in Silverstone was another good result, while he pressured Leclerc into a mistake in Japan and arguably in Imola, finishing second in both, and showed himself to be a good second driver in Spain, letting Verstappen through twice.

    The main downside of Perez’s season was a lack of pace, particularly in the middle part of the year as he was slow in Paul Ricard, Budapest, Spa, Zandvoort and Monza relative to his teammate, while losing second to Leclerc in Abu Dhabi was also disappointing. Perez didn’t really make any errors this season, apart from Monaco qualifying where he crashed, and I believe the rumours that claim this was deliberate and the cause of Verstappen refusing to let him through in Brazil. Perez has done a great job as the wingman to Verstappen these last two years, but one piece of poor judgement may have damaged his relationship with the team and put his drive at risk for 2024.

    9. Sebastian Vettel (up 1). One of the greatest drivers of the last decade bids farewell to Formula 1, following his best season in a few years, building on his improvement last year from an awful 2020, but not on the level he was at in 2019. Vettel conclusively outperformed Lance Stroll in his final season in Formula 1, doing a good job both when the car was good at the end of the year, and when it was uncompetitive at the start. It would have been nice for him to have more success, but Vettel did get a proper send-off in Abu Dhabi, showing just how popular he has become in his latter years of Formula 1, and after one last outstanding qualifying lap that got him into Q3.

    Despite being outqualified by Stroll, Vettel’s best drive of 2022 came in COTA, where he lost sixth place to a terrible pitstop, but fought back to eighth with two outstanding overtakes around the outside of Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen, the latter on the final lap of the race. His drive in Suzuka was also good, making Q3, spinning at turn one, then pitting for inters to get back into sixth and holding the position. He also took sixth in Baku with another great drive, despite the car being uncompetitive at the time, and going up the escape road, and similarly strong was his eighth in Imola, and Vettel took a few more good points finishes, with Singapore, Monaco and an 11th in Brazil notably good drives.

    There were a few races where Vettel was outperformed by his teammate, with Zandvoort particularly disappointing as the car was good but he made an error in Q1, and Vettel also had a shocker in Albert Park, his first race back after missing the first two with COVID. But, thankfully, Vettel rounded off his season with a good drive in Abu Dhabi to tenth, and can retire with his head held high. He may never have been the same since crashing out of the lead in Hockenheim 2018, but at Red Bull, Vettel had been outstanding, particularly with his dominant 2011 and 2013 seasons, while his win at Monza for Toro Rosso in 2008 remains one of the great drives in F1 history, something Vettel knows a lot about, having successfully named every champion last year. A fantastic driver who will be much missed.

    10. Esteban Ocon (down 1). He may have become the first driver ever to outscore Fernando Alonso over their entire time as teammates, but Ocon was somewhat fortunate to do so after being second-best to his teammate this year. Better reliability and luck in general has to take a lot of credit for Ocon finishing eighth in the standings this year, but he still had to be close enough to capitalise and did just that. There were quite a few races where he was quicker than Alonso, but similarly a few where he went missing.

    Ocon was the top midfield driver on four occasions this year, and his best drive came in Suzuka, holding off Hamilton for the entirety of the race in the wet to take fourth, having also outqualified his teammate and both Mercedes. Austria was also a notable drive as Ocon qualified and finished as comfortably the best in the midfield. Jeddah and Montreal were a little more fortunate, as Alonso had bad luck, and the Alpine teammates were involved in a particularly exciting scrap in the former. He also pulled off an outstanding double overtake on Vettel and Gasly to get seventh at Les Combes in Spa. Ocon conclusively outperformed Alonso in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, came from the back to eighth in Miami, and brought home points on sixteen occasions, the very epitome of consistency which helped him beat his teammate.

    There were a few races where Ocon simply had no pace, most notably in Singapore and COTA where he failed to get of Q1 and made little progress in the races, while Monza was also a little disappointing, and he hit Tsunoda in France. His defence against Hamilton in Monaco was spirited but a bit too aggressive. He was also unfairly vilified by Alonso on a few occasions, most notably in Brazil where he didn’t really do anything wrong. Ocon doesn’t seem like a future champion, but he is certainly a solid upper midfield runner and will likely remain that way for the rest of his career. Next season he will be teammate to Pierre Gasly, and while it will be very close, I would back Ocon to hold a narrow advantage.

    11. Alexander Albon (up 7 from 2020). It was not surprising that Albon went well on his return to Formula 1. Gasly had struggled badly at Red Bull but starred at Alpha Tauri, and Albon did the same on his return with Williams, albeit not quite to the same extent. Nicholas Latifi may have been well-beaten by Russell, but Alex Albon was arguably even further ahead this year, although Latifi did have a much worse season, and Albon frequently put the worst car on the grid into the midfield. His season was not without errors, but he was a far better driver than he had been with Red Bull.

    Alex Albon scored points on three occasions, with the best of them being his tenth in Australia, as Albon drove the entire race on one set of tyres, pitting from seventh on the final lap to take tenth. He then took eleventh in Imola, getting ahead of Hamilton despite starting behind him in another outstanding drive, and with a more fortunate ninth place in Miami, he was on top form. Albon was fairly error prone at Monaco but still showed some impressive pace, the fastest man on track for a time after the red flag, and he continued to punch above his weight in the upgraded Williams, almost scoring a point in Austria as he lost out to Alonso and Bottas at the end. Albon made Q3 for the first time in Belgium and, aided by the straightline speed of the Williams, finished tenth with a good defensive drive.

    In Monza, Nyck de Vries finished ninth in his place as Albon was absent with appendicitis, and I suspect he could have challenged the top six if he had raced. Albon completed the season with a string of good results. But he also had some bad races, hitting Stroll in Jeddah and Vettel in the Austria sprint, while he crashed in Singapore, went up the escape road in Monaco, and finished a distant last in Catalunya. But Albon had driven well enough to push Latifi out of the sport, and Williams will surely improve in the coming years and allow Albon to score points more regularly. He will be expected to beat Logan Sargeant next year.

    12. Valtteri Bottas (down 1). Early in the season, Bottas looked like a man reborn at Alfa Romeo, as he dominated Zhou Guanyu in the same car and was consistently finishing towards the top of the midfield. But then the Alfa Romeo lost its competitiveness and unexplainedly, Bottas’ form slumped and never recovered. The points table flatters him, as he was good when the car was, but was generally outdriven by Zhou when it wasn’t, and from Hungary onwards I would rate him slightly below Zhou. Bottas’ racecraft also continues to be a problem, and he frequently lost positions on the first lap of races.

    Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo looked like a great one after Bahrain, as he qualified sixth, very close to Hamilton and ahead of Russell, and then recovered from a terrible start to finish there. Bottas scored more points in Australia after a decent drive, then finished an excellent fifth in Imola as he chased down Russell and Norris in the closing laps. Bottas was particularly strong in Miami as he qualified fifth and ran solidly there for almost the entire race until an error at the end cost him places to the Mercedes. His best drive of the season came in Spain, finishing top of the midfield in sixth and threatening fourth despite a sub-optimal strategy. He was tipped for a front row start in Monaco but it didn’t happen, with ninth on the grid the best he could muster.

    But that was sort of it for Bottas, as an awful race in Baku seemed to trigger a poor run of form which he never recovered from, bar a decent drive to seventh in Canada and a late amazing qualifying session in Mexico, culminating in sixth on the grid. Bottas was often knocked out in Q1, outpaced by Zhou, and Abu Dhabi was perhaps the worst of the lot, although Spa and Monza were poor and he spun in COTA. Brazil was a good drive at the end of the year but, as has been the case throughout his career, there seem to be two versions of Bottas and the one that turns up in 2023 will surely either rejuvenate, or end his career. The fact that he tended to turn up only when the car was good this year suggests that motivation may be a problem for someone who spent many years in the best car. But I think he will be better next year.

    13. Pierre Gasly (down 8). This is a little harsh, he could have been two places higher, but following an outstanding season last year, Gasly had an awful year in 2022, his considerable advantage to Tsunoda wiped out to just a narrow one, and while there were some races where he was competitive, there were too many where he was outperformed by his teammate, suggesting perhaps the car was very much built around him last year. Gasly also picked up far too many penalty points, putting him near enough to a ban that it was suggested he might want to deliberately get banned for Abu Dhabi and start afresh next year with Alpine.

    Gasly’s season started well, on course for a strong points finish in Bahrain before a fire, and scoring in Jeddah and Albert Park despite the car not being hugely competitive, as he outperformed Tsunoda. He was also going well in Imola before being hit by Alonso, and was a bit clumsy in the contact with Norris. His best drive of the season came when the car was good in Baku, and he delivered a fine fifth place, top of the midfield. He was thrice more in the points, with Spa, Monza and Singapore all strong drives, particularly the latter where he qualified seventh. Monaco was another strong, unrewarded drive where Gasly made some brilliant overtakes on intermediate tyres while the rest were on wets.

    But there were also many races like Imola and Abu Dhabi where he was simply beaten by Tsunoda, and he also had a scruffy weekend in Austria, involved in a few incidents, in Spain where he hit Stroll, and struggled in France and Canada. Japan was the biggest low point of the season, driving too quickly past a tractor and marshals on track. Gasly’s form has fluctuated so much during his career that it is difficult to know how he will perform at Alpine next year, but right now I am thinking he will be narrowly outperformed by Ocon, which would have been a huge shock one year ago.

    14. Kevin Magnussen (up 1 from 2020). Another ranking that appears a little harsh, but although Magnussen had a strong comeback and helped Haas to their best finish in four years, with some particularly standout moments, he too often showed little pace and finished behind Schumacher. He also was a bit too aggressive on the first lap of races, earning three black and orange flags. Perhaps the best moment of the entire season was his shock pole position in Brazil, and there can be no doubt that he was a huge improvement on Nikita Mazepin, who he replaced on the eve of the season.

    Magnussen’s most impressive drive of the year was the first one, in Bahrain, where he stepped into the car for the first time in the last week of testing, then qualified seventh and finished fifth, a remarkable result. The Haas was a good car at the start of the year, and Magnussen scored further points in Jeddah and Imola. He overtook Hamilton in the former and qualified fourth in the wet in the latter. Following a poor run of form, Magnussen scored a good eighth, after seventh in the sprint (and actually scored in all three sprints), in Austria despite car problems, while he would score just once more, taking ninth in COTA after good tyre management. He was also very quick in qualifying in Montreal and Paul Ricard. But the highlight of the year came in Brazil, where the cars were able to set just one lap in Q3 before it rained heavily, and of those laps, Kevin Magnussen’s was the fastest, so while it was a little fortunate, it was still pole on merit, the first ever for both him and the team.

    But from Canada onwards, Magnussen generally struggled to keep the upper hand over Schumacher, and the Haas drivers were very evenly matched. The three black and orange flags in Canada, Hungary and Singapore were unlucky, if not coincidental, but in Monza, Zandvoort, Mexico and Abu Dhabi he was simply slower than Schumacher, as well as in Silverstone where he did at least score a point. Magnussen has never quite lived up to the promise he showed in his first ever race, that brilliant podium in Australia 2014, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against Nico Hulkenberg this year, having raced against very few teammates.

    15. Lance Stroll (down 2). Stroll is very heavily maligned in Formula 1 for the fact that his father owns the team, and although he is far from the worst driver on the grid, it is true that drivers of his level very rarely get seven seasons (at least) in the top level. Stroll did alright compared to a past-his-best Vettel this year, but was still generally underwhelming and doesn’t look to be showing signs of improvement. This year, he was also a little too aggressive in wheel-to-wheel combat.

    But Stroll did have some very good races this year, with Zandvoort being one where he was very quick in all weekend and took a well-deserved point for tenth. Also notable was his charge to eighth in Abu Dhabi which almost earned Aston Martin sixth in the championship, and a slightly fortunate sixth in Singapore, which still required a good defence against Vettel at the end. He held off his teammate in Paul Ricard for a point, and deserved another in Hungary but lost time as he was hit by Ricciardo. Stroll drove well to tenth in Miami, where he had qualified, despite having to start from the pitlane.

    COTA initially looked like Stroll’s best drive of all, as he qualified a brilliant seventh and was running there in the race when he made a late defensive move on Alonso that took him out of the race. Stroll also forced teammate Vettel onto the grass in the Brazil sprint, and turned in on Albon in Jeddah. He also had some disappointing races such as Monaco and Baku, and was usually a bit behind Vettel. Being outqualified by Hulkenberg in Bahrain was also a low point. Stroll is not a bad driver and looks to have the Aston Martin seat as long as he wants it, but I suspect he will have a more difficult time next year alongside Alonso, who will be keen to have the team built more around him.

    16. Yuki Tsunoda (up 3). After a very poor debut season, Tsunoda showed significant improvement this year, often outpacing Gasly, and I think there is more to come from Tsunoda. He is still too error-prone, making some clumsy mistakes this year, and sometimes appears angry and unprofessional, but who also is quick and has significant potential in Formula 1. Pierre Gasly’s drop in form since last year, and Tsunoda’s improvement, suggests that last year’s car was perhaps designed far more around his teammate.

    Tsunoda’s most impressive drive probably came in Imola, where he was quite a lot faster than his teammate and finished seventh after overtaking Vettel and Magnussen with strong pace later in the race. In Baku he was close behind Gasly and lost sixth to a rear wing failure, while he was taken out in Paul Ricard following a good qualifying. Spain and Zandvoort were other races where he was quicker than his teammate, as were Mexico and Abu Dhabi, but he often finished just outside the points or had bad luck when he was fast.

    In general, Tsunoda wasn’t quite as quick as Gasly, but the main thing that hurts his ranking is far too many big errors. The worst of these came in Silverstone, where he committed the cardinal sin of taking out his teammate, spinning into Gasly, while he crashed clumsily in both Canada and Singapore, and had poor races in Austria and Hungary. But despite this mistakes, Tsunoda was much better than he had been in 2021, and I expect more significant improvement next year, so would be surprised if he is beaten by new teammate Nyck de Vries.

    17. Zhou Guanyu (rookie). The only rookie on the grid had what looks on paper like a very poor season, heavily outscored by Bottas. But this disguises the fact that Zhou was particularly uncompetitive when the car was at its best, and improved significantly after the Alfa Romeo stopped being a regular contender for points, and over the second half of the season he was frequently quicker than Bottas. From Hungary onwards, I would rate Zhou marginally ahead of his teammate. He also has strong racecraft and is good in wet conditions. His season will be best remembered for a very scary accident in Silverstone in which his car was tipped upside down and then launched over a barrier.

    Zhou scored points on his debut, finishing tenth in Bahrain after some good overtaking, but his best race of the year was Canada where he made Q3 in a wet qualifying, and then finished eighth, unlucky to be beaten by Bottas. Zhou also made the top ten in the wet Silverstone qualifying, and scored a point for tenth in Monza. But while the car wasn’t great over the second half of the year and Zhou scored few points, he usually finished ahead of Bottas, with Abu Dhabi being an example of such, where he also pulled off a fantastic last lap move on Albon.

    But the main problem with Zhou’s season was that he failed to score good points when the car was good. Maybe he struggled with pressure, or maybe the car was always good and Bottas’ form just fluctuated significantly, while Zhou was just consistently average. I suspect it is a bit of a combination, and while Zhou had a few reliability issues, they didn’t really cost him points, with Silverstone the only retirement that is likely to have denied him points, a crash in which he was the innocent party. Zhou’s rookie season was decent, and he might become a solid midfielder in the future, but I suspect Bottas will turn up more next year and he will be left behind a bit.

    18. Mick Schumacher (down 1). I have to question where Schumacher would place on this list if Mazepin was still his teammate. Bahrain is a perfect example, where he finished 11th, and would have looked outstanding if Mazepin had raced the second car and finished towards the back, but instead was compared with Magnussen in fifth, and suddenly he didn’t look much cop. He would almost certainly still have his Haas drive, but I think he has been harshly sacked anyway, having generally matched Magnussen over the second half of the season. But much of that was down to his poor first third of the year, with far too many heavy accidents costing the team a significant amount of money.

    Schumacher scored just two points finishes this year, but both were big points as he finished an excellent eighth, from the back, in Silverstone after a late battle with Verstappen. He then defended well against Hamilton in Austria in the sprint, and made progress to take sixth in the race. Then he also drove well to make Q3 in Zandvoort, and in Monza he outperformed Magnussen and pulled off a super move on Latifi. Canada was another strong weekend, where Schumacher started sixth but retired. And while Brazil qualifying was perhaps the nail in the coffin, qualifying last with his teammate on pole, Schumacher recovered very well in the sprint to finish just four places behind Magnussen.

    The reason Schumacher is out of Formula 1 is the large amount of crashes he had at the start of the year, with heavy crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, where the car split in two, particularly costly, but Schumacher also hit Vettel in Miami and lost his first points. But he was thereafter very clean, up until Abu Dhabi where he hit Latifi with a silly move, but had already lost his drive by that time. One of the most likeable drivers on the grid, I would like to see Schumacher given another chance in the future, with rumours of a move to Sauber, but would say that is unlikely.

    19. Daniel Ricciardo (down 4). Maybe I am being too harsh on him due to the expectations, and it is true that Norris is a supremely talented driver. But the car was all new for this year, and Ricciardo had been at the team for a full season already, so the fact that he performed so poorly is concerning, and somewhat inexcusable. He was never close to Norris’ pace, and also made numerous errors. But Ricciardo is not a bad driver, we have seen at Red Bull and Renault just how talented he is, and he just wasn’t himself in 2022, or 2021 for that matter.

    The one real glimpse of the Ricciardo of old in 2022 came in Mexico, where he was given the soft tyre for the final stint and charged through the pack to seventh, top of the midfield. Ricciardo also qualified and raced well in Australia, just behind Norris as he finished sixth, and beat his teammate in Baku. His best result was fifth in Singapore, but this was a more fortunate result. Ricciardo ended the season with a decent drive to ninth in Abu Dhabi, but these races were too few and far between to save his drive.

    Ricciardo’s main problem this year was the complete lack of pace, outqualifying Norris just once, in Spain after his teammate exceeded track limits, and Monaco, Silverstone, Zandvoort and COTA would have to be the most disappointing examples of him having absolutely no pace. The frustration caused by this probably caused some of the errors, taking out Sainz in Imola, Magnussen in Brazil, Tsunoda in Mexico, and for many the feeling at the end of the year was that his exit from Formula 1 couldn’t come soon enough. Ricciardo rightly lost his drive to Oscar Piastri for next year, but hopefully he will squeeze his way back in somewhere in the future, because we saw as recently as 2020 that he is still a very good driver.

    20. Nicholas Latifi (down 2). He may have been well-beaten by George Russell, but Latifi, while among the backmarkers, did okay in his first two seasons in Formula 1. For some reason, that changed in 2022 and he plummeted to the clear worst on the grid, unable to stay anywhere near the pace of Alex Albon, and while he made a few mistakes, Latifi’s main problem was that he was just so slow. Maybe the aftermath of Abu Dhabi 2021 has had an effect on his driving, but it was unsurprising when he was dropped by the team at the end of the season.

    Amongst all the pain, Latifi did have two very good races. The first of these came in Silverstone, where he came through every qualifying session to make it into Q3 and start tenth, and then raced well to stick with the pace of the midfield and run in the top ten for a considerable amount of the race, eventually slipping to 12th. The next good race was Suzuka, where Latifi pitted for intermediates immediately when the race restarted and got into the points as a result, before driving well enough to finish ninth.

    Latifi had a few races where he made errors, such as Saudi Arabia where he crashed twice and Singapore where he put Zhou in the wall, but his main problem was being cut adrift in last place time after time with no apparent explanation as to why. It wasn’t his worst race, but one that stands out particularly was Monza, where Nyck de Vries was drafted in from practice three to replace Latifi, outqualified him, and then scored points for ninth as Latifi was 15th. That was the final nail in the coffin, and despite his wealth, I don’t expect to see Latifi back in Formula 1 again. But he is not as bad a driver as this season would suggest.

    Awards:

    Driver of the season – Max Verstappen. Broke records with 15 wins in a season, and utterly dominated. Added his name to the list of the great drivers of history. Honourable mentions to Leclerc and Norris.

    Team of the season – Red Bull. Built the best car, outfoxed their rivals strategically, continued to do the fastest pitstops, very little reliability trouble, had the best driver and dominated the championship. No honourable mentions, it cannot be anyone else.

    Most improved driver – Alexander Albon. It was expected, but he was so much better than he had been at Red Bull, and repaired his reputation. Honourable mentions to Russell and Tsunoda.

    Biggest disappointment (driver) – Daniel Ricciardo. I thought he would get back on form this year in the new cars but he was worse, and there were no complaints when he was dropped. Honourable mentions to Gasly and Bottas.

    Biggest disappointment (team) – Mercedes. Their drop in form gave Red Bull a rather simple run to the championship, but their radical design may pay off in the long term. Honourable mention to Alpine and McLaren, still not frontrunners.

    Best designers – Red Bull. Simply, they built the best car. Honourable mention to Mercedes because I think their design will pay off eventually.

    Best strategists – Red Bull. On so many occasions they beat Mercedes or Ferrari strategically, in Monaco, Hungary, USA and Mexico. Honourable mention to Aston Martin.

    Best mechanics – Red Bull. Again. Their pitstops are still consistently the best. Honourable mention to McLaren, who did actually have the fastest stop of the year. I can’t really think of any particularly impressive quick repair jobs this year from anyone.

    Best race drive – Max Verstappen, Belgium. All weekend, he was a class above anyone else, and went from the back to the front in less than half the race. Honourable mentions to Verstappen, Japan and Leclerc, Austria, and De Vries, Monza.

    Best qualifying lap – Kevin Magnussen, Brazil. It had to be, he took pole position in a Haas. Honourable mention to Leclerc, Spain.

    Best race lap – Sebastian Vettel, final lap in Austin. Overtaking Kevin Magnussen to gain eighth place on the penultimate corner was outstanding. Honourable mention to the battle between Leclerc and Verstappen in Bahrain, and the laps on slick tyres on a damp track in Singapore.

    Best overtake – Charles Leclerc on Hamilton, Silverstone. Around the outside, on worn hard tyres, at Copse. It was beautiful. Honourable mentions to Leclerc on Perez, Austin and Vettel on Albon, Austin.

    Biggest blunder (driver) – Charles Leclerc, France. This crash from the lead of the race effectively ended the championship. Honourable mentions to Schumacher, Miami and Tsunoda, Britain.

    Biggest blunder (team) – Ferrari, Silverstone. Why did they leave Leclerc on those old tyres after the safety car? Honourable mentions to Ferrari, Monaco and Ferrari, Hungary.

    Best race – The United States GP. A great battle between Hamilton and Verstappen at the front, entirely fair, Leclerc’s amazing pass on Perez, Vettel’s charge to points and Alonso seventh despite the crash. Honourable mentions to the British GP and the Hungarian GP.

    Worst race – The Azerbaijan GP. After Leclerc retired, there was no battle at the front and it was very dull. Honourable mention to Mexico.

    Best moment – Discovering that the new cars could follow closely. They’re not perfect, but we are going in the right direction. Next step is getting rid of DRS. Honourable mention to Magnussen’s pole and Ferrari’s resurgence.

    Worst moment – Finding out Red Bull had exceeded the budget cap in 2021. It’s cheating, and massively devalued their title win last year. Honourable mention to the missile strike debacle in Saudi Arabia, the wait to find out Zhou’s condition in Silverstone (both were worse, but I wanted to give it to an actual F1 moment), and also the appalling behaviour of much of the F1 fanbase, both online and at the tracks.

    The 2022 season was very average, particularly considering it came after one of F1’s greatest ever seasons in 2021, but I think the title battle could be a lot more exciting in 2023, and another edition of Hamilton vs Verstappen, with Leclerc and Russell hopefully not far behind either.

    1. Impressive write-up. To me a fair representation of the season. I expect to see a battle for the title between Max, Charles and George in 2023.

    2. Tldr.. That’s an impressive write up, but not many people will read it all. Make a summary version.

      1. No need to dumb it down for those too lazy to read – its fine as it is.

      2. For someone like me who only checks here a few times throughout the day and is often doing other stuff in the meantime, it takes probably 3-4 visits to read all those rankings in full! But that’s ok, when you want more detailed descriptions there’s those. Generally agree with those rankings too, with some exception.

    3. @f1frog – A superb write-up! There will always be small differences of opinion but I largely agree with everything there, very comprehensive. And I love the “Awards” at the end!

      The only Award I would maybe give differently would be:

      Biggest disappointment (team) – Ferrari.
      “Leclerc is gonna run away with it”, “It’s going to be a boring season with Ferrari winning everything” – these were the sorts of comments we saw after the first race. I actually think that Mercedes also deserve this award, but we at least knew after testing that Mercedes seemed off the pace. But for me it was Ferrari who seemed the most promising but just failed to deliver. Instead of running away with both titles, they ended up having to battle for a distant second place in both drivers and constructors championships.

      I’m sure once they learn how to stop their power units from exploding that they’ll be able to turn them back up and get back on form.

    4. You are trying to be too clever. Ocon is a driver who I always felt like had a higher ceiling than Perez and he probably had his best ever season. There is no way he worse than Perez who got destroyed by Max left, right and centre.

    5. Superb write-up. Better than any I’ve read on any other website.

  3. 1.Max
    2.Charles
    3.Fernando

  4. ollie studio45
    4th December 2022, 12:31

    suggestion: ask readers to vote on top 10 or top 5 drivers so you don’t only get their favourite driver or number one choice

  5. Probably Max, George and Lando were standouts. Hard to choose one. Probably Max I suppose because of how easily he wrapped up the WDC, and comprehensively beat his team mate.

  6. Max overall obviously, with Leclerc as the best qualifying single lap pace.

  7. Max and Alonso and possibly Russell were standouts. The rest were all over the place.

  8. Magnussen, for the only real giant killing performance of the season

  9. Wasn’t impressed by verstappen’s conduct lately and I knew he’d win the poll, so I’ve been looking for other candidates, but among those with a decent car (hard to compare with backmarker-car drivers) the difference was just too massive to for example vote leclerc or hamilton or russell, so had to go with verstappen.

  10. Easiest poll ever ! Only Lando Norris could be somehow argued to have performed at the level of Verstappen this year.

    1. Still feel Lando needs a real challenge. Ricciardo for sure didn’t provide it. McLaren are too lame to provide a car capable of winning a championship. No way of knowing what Lando in extremis can do yet. It takes time to learn the errors at the top end.

      See Max and Leclerc. Leclerc now doing the learning that Max did previous years. Hope he grows. Because we need a few teams and drivers fighting for the championship next year.

      1. I think, a midfield team will not have two Landos anytime soon. Maybe accidentally, by randomly finding a gem rookie.

      2. I completely agree, that is why I used the conditional.

  11. Max no1 and the rest far away.

    Coming from a huge Lewis fan!

    1. How was Alonso’s performance far away behind Max’s? I think Alonso did better than Max.
      Max only capitalized on the domination of his car, Alonso actually did some amazing, brave, inspiring stuff.

      1. Alonso is one of the greats for sure. This season he was fighting with his team mates at times, which didn’t help. Fighting his team, which was typical abrasive Alonso. All in all could have been better. Hard to see if he left things in the table, the Alpine was hard to read in terms of performance.

        1. He also was poor at times though and Ocon clearly looked better at times too. Alonso earned a penalty in canada for a dangerous move on Bottas, which is the sort of thing Stroll gets no end of criticism for. While Ocon is not a good team mate towards him, Alonso makes things worse at times. His collision into the back of Ocon in Brazil in the sprint was ridiculous and he was entirely blaming Ocon and yet it was him that received the penalty.

          I’m specifically pointing out negatives here though. His speed is mighty, but his decision making is often too late and often seems to result in avoidable contact, even when other drivers are more at fault. For example, even Palmer said Alonso was extremely late to pull out of Stroll’s slipstream in the USA when he easily had enough speed to pass without doing this. Stroll was 100% to blame for the move he did, but the contact won’t have happened if alonso wasn’t so close.

          I can’t see a good enough reason to vote alonso at the level of verstappen.

  12. Reflecting on the season Max was right up there all the time as well as ocationally putting his opponents to shame (Spa, Suzuka come to mind). Nobody comes even close this year.

    Leclerc made some silly unforced mistakes that cost him dearly in Imola and France.
    Hamilton was very anonymous the first half of the season, then came back fighting but still a bit hit&miss.
    Sainz & Perez obviously not close to be considered the best this season.
    Alonso performed well most of the time but wasn’t superior all of the time at Alpine.

    Russel and Norris both had great seasons. So yeah 1. Verstappen. 2. Russel. 3. Norris.

    1. Some people read “Vote for your 2022 Formula 1 Driver of the Year” and see “Vote for your favourite Driver”

      1. Apology, this response is meant to be to Dane “How does Albon and Ricciardo have more votes than Leclerc???”

  13. How does Albon and Ricciardo have more votes than Leclerc???

  14. My Top 20, obtained by grading each weekend and eliminating the worst result:

    1. Max
    2. Charles
    3. Fernando
    4. George
    5. Lando
    6. Lewis
    7. Checo
    8. Seb
    9. Carlos
    10. Esteban

    11. Alex
    12. Valtteri
    13. Pierre
    14. Lance
    15. Mick
    16. Kevin
    17. Zhou
    18. Yuki
    19. Danny
    20. Nicolas

    This is not how I rate them as drivers, just how they did this season.
    And, yes, overall numbers point to Mick being slightly better than Kevin over the whole season, in terms of performance.

  15. To end up breaking the record of most wins in a season and effectively dominating the competition in a car that can in no way be considered dominant was pretty incredible and a privilege to watch. Surely it can only be Max.

    Lando and Fernando both impressed me throughout the season and Charles showed flashes of brilliance. Hopefully Leclerc can put together a season-long challenge for the championship next year.

  16. It can only be Verstappen.

    From the races he didn’t win only Brazil can be argued to have been a self-inflicted loss on race day.

    Bahrain: DNF from 2nd whilst challenging for the lead during the race.
    Australia: DNF from 2nd.
    Monaco: disrupted qualifying had him starting some ways back.
    England: significantly damaged the car running over debris whilst in the lead, finished 7th
    Austria: 2nd after having notable tyre degradation due to setup issues
    Singapore: failed to set a competitive qualifying time, starting way back
    Brazil: clashed with Hamilton, leading to damage and a penalty

    His season wasn’t perfect, but nobody in the current field came close to his level of competitiveness at pretty much every single race.

    It’s going to take a mighty effort to beat him in this form.

    1. He also made a mistake in singapore during the race, ending up way down compared to where he’d have been, not to mention the mistakes he didn’t pay for, like hungary or spain: spinning or going into the gravel temporarily aren’t tiny mistakes, he just got away with it, much like hamilton did last year in some occasion.

  17. Here’a a top 15, the rest were not good enough to rate. Sorry Dan, that includes you.
    Special mention to Nyck who should be in the top 5.

    Lando
    Max
    Fernando
    Charles
    Carlos
    Checo
    George
    Kevin
    Alex
    Pierre
    Valtteri
    Zhou
    Yuki
    Lance
    Mick

  18. Fans with no wheel knowledge voting Carmilton, the Money Badger and Magnussen 💀

  19. Had not to agree with Verstappen being No.1, no matter how much I’d rather not admit that.

    Seems like a not insignificant percentage of voters were simply taking the mickey, or maybe reinterpreting the vote to being ‘your favourite driver’, which is a shame. As much as everyone is entitled to an opinion, voting DR, MS, and NL is a nonsense. “In fact I feel there are several more that really do not warrant consideration, but these would of course become increasingly subjective.

    The comments seem to indicate several would have placed Leclerc second, which makes his 1% (after 113 votes) rather interesting. I (personally) do not rate his season that highly (i.e. not second). Certainly some of his best drives place him near, or even at, the top. But for the complete season he was not sufficiently consistent in my eyes (and I of course do not include the ‘team induced’ issues in that assessment).

  20. Quite honestly quite a disappointing season from pretty much every driver other than Verstappen who frankly just had to maintain a better than average skill level because he really wasn’t challenged.

    Given every team had a chance to reset with completely new cars, no one brought anything to showcase their drivers.

    Hopefully 2023 will be better but I suspect it’ll be a year or two before we see things get interesting again.

  21. Pretty much everyone has voted for the best car, and more so in a team with a one car focus. We saw in Brazil how Max folded and turned nasty once the car didn’t gift a win. Not someone to place on a pedestal.

    Best in their car? I’d be tempted to say Lando. but I wonder how much that was down to Daniel being so very bad.

    1. There’s definitely grounds to vote alonso or norris, but hard to separate the car from the driver, we can ofc compare team mates, but ricciardo this year was not at his normal level and hence far worse than perez, so norris beating ricciardo gets less credit than verstappen beating perez. Ocon could be perez level, but this is only info from few years ago when they were team mates at force india, there’s no saying they’re still up there.

      1. Saying someone is Perez-level is a put down, is it not?

        And Ocon beat Max in a series, if we go back in time. Perhaps that’s more support for how much the car matters.

  22. It’s hard not to vote for Max. But thought drivers that were better than expected were Alonso and Russell. Alonso for absoutely owning Ocon at the age of 41, and Russell for driving a matured and measured season to beat Lewis in the points.

  23. Agree with some people who said leclerc had too low votes, indeed, he should be the 2nd best driver this year but only gets 2% votes in a by now complete poll.

    1. Agree that Leclerc is the 2nd best driver this year but the Vote is for the best driver. I think a lot of votes are also based on the fact that Lando, Alonso, etc are not in a a compatative car. Leclerc and Ferrari had a compatative package but disapointed the fans during the season.

  24. That was a easy answer Max Verstappen but together i would see a poll who did impress the most, best surprise driver, best teammate beater and improved driver.

  25. While VER would’ve been an easy choice, I went for RUS over his general consistency combined with the machinery.

  26. My top 4 plus six more to get to 10.

    1 Max – obvious
    2 Charles – over the whole season, despite Ferrari mishaps still ended up second in the championship
    3 George – new in the team with a team mate that in previous seasons would absolute demand to be #1 and dominate this teammates
    4 Lando – best of the rest, got more out of the car then the other three top team drivers
    5/6 Lewis – Fernando. Fernando was more special in the car than Ocon, Ocon more consistent, but not Fernando level. Lewis got better over the season, and ranked close to his tame mate. Lewis > Fernando or Fernando > Lewis? I call it a draw 5=6
    7-8-9 the before mentioned Ocon, Chico and Carlos; find it hard to rank them apart. All three had team mates that were better, but they themselves did not bad.
    10 Alex Got some good results in a “last on the grid” car.

    1. @gmp

      I’m shocked that you’ve put Ocon, Checo and Sainz at 7 to 9. Checo and Sainz pretty much beat their teammates only 3 times on merit in a 22 race calendar, and Ocon was smashed by Alonso nearly every race weekend. I thought drivers like Vettel and Bottas deserve it more.

Comments are closed.