- Max Verstappen has overcome early struggles to take a cushty lead within the 2022 F1 drivers championship.
- Three others are chasing Verstappen, together with George Russell, who has quietly turn out to be a contender.
- Practically two-thirds of the season stays, and we’ve got already seen high groups have reliability points and totally different occasions.
- Here’s a take a look at the 4 drivers who nonetheless have a legit shot and two extra who would wish a miracle.
The heavy favourite
After the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia, Crimson Bull staff principal Christian Horner mentioned he would “fairly repair a quick automotive than try to make a dependable, gradual one quick,” and so they have performed simply that.
Verstappen failed to complete two of the primary three races and fell 46 factors behind Charles Leclerc because it regarded like Ferrari would dominate the season. However since then, the defending champ has completed on the rostrum in 5 straight races, successful 4.
It’s now Verstappen with a 34-point lead over Leclerc.
The legit contenders
Ferrari got here out of the gates, proving it had loads of velocity this season to compete in each the motive force and constructor championships. Nevertheless, like Crimson Bull’s early-season struggles, Ferrari has hit its personal tough patch.
Leclerc has been the quickest driver all season, taking pole in six rounds and beginning on the entrance row in all eight. However after successful two of the primary three races, he has did not win since: He needed to retire his automotive twice and has solely completed on the rostrum as soon as (P2 in Miami).
There’s nonetheless loads of season left to catch Verstappen, however first Ferrari should repair its reliability points. Sadly for Leclerc, he’ll quickly have to start out taking grid penalties for exceeding the variety of turbochargers allowed in a season. Every engine failure going ahead might lead to a 10-place grid penalty for Leclerc.
Perez has moved previous Leclerc and into second within the standings after a powerful three-race run that included a win in Monaco, a simple P2 in Baku, and a controversial P2 in Spain, the place he was ordered to not problem Verstappen for the win.
Now the query is whether or not Crimson Bull will permit Perez to compete for the championship. Publicly, they’re saying all the best issues.
Whereas all people is aware of Verstappen continues to be the No. 1 driver, Perez is just one win away from making the title race a teammate cleaning soap opera.
Regardless of Mercedes’ struggles, Russell has quietly positioned himself to make a run if his staff can enhance the automotive’s efficiency and get the porpoising that left teammate Lewis Hamilton with an injured again in Baku beneath management .
Russell’s consistency has been key. He’s the one driver to attain factors in each race and has completed within the high 5 in all eight, with two podiums within the final three rounds.
Russell is 51 factors behind Verstappen however solely 17 behind Leclerc. With 14 races left, Russell has an out of doors likelihood if Mercedes can discover just a bit extra velocity and rather less bouncing.
Nonetheless alive, barely
Whereas Perez is inside a shot of creating Crimson Bull rethink their pairing, Sainz has not proven something to point he is able to problem for the highest spot in The Prancing Horse automobiles.
Each Ferrari drivers have struggled at occasions in races this season. Nevertheless, Sainz has been outpaced in qualifying by his teammate in each race and has but to choose up the slack or a win when Leclerc has run into hassle.
Sainz would wish a surprising turnaround to the season to enter the championship image, however his automotive continues to be one of many quickest on the grid.
Hamilton had a powerful fourth-place exhibiting in Baku, tied for his finest end all season (he was additionally P4 in Australia). Nevertheless, his season hit a brand new low when the bouncing in his automotive received so dangerous he struggled to get out of his automotive after the race.
Whereas Russell is the stronger contender at this level within the season, if Mercedes can repair its automobiles’ issues, no person can be shocked if Hamilton moved forward of Russell and challenged for extra wins. However till that occurs, the opening he’s in now feels too massive.