With the primary half of the 2022 season executed and dusted, there was a lot to shout about throughout the opening 13 races. Some drivers have had a lot to shout about, whereas others have faltered within the early a part of the marketing campaign. However who, to this point, has been the perfect of the perfect?
In ascending order, Motorsport Week takes a glance.
5. Lando Norris – McLaren – 76 Factors – seventh within the standings
McLaren began the 2022 season on the again foot, and seemed to be in deep trouble throughout the opening race in Bahrain. The Woking squad had all of the hallmarks of being backmarkers, in a season by which they hoped to make a leap towards the entrance of the grid. Though the state of affairs has improved since then, it’s nonetheless not in possession of a automobile that’s combating the place it needs to be.
However, Lando Norris has persistently proven his class and pace, and even bagged a podium end at Imola, sooner than anybody might have predicted. The younger Brit has been on a powerful ladder of development since 2019, and for the second 12 months working, he’s dismantling his far more skilled team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, whose place for 2022 at present has a large query mark over it.
Ricciardo was alleged to be McLaren’s chief, the robust supply to construct a championship-winning basis. All indications this 12 months, and final, point out that it’s Norris who’s heading in the right direction to be the headline driver for McLaren’s future.
4. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 41 Factors – tenth within the standings
Alonso spent his comeback 12 months in 2021 acclimatising himself as soon as once more to the world of Formulation 1 after spending two years on different tasks. Whereas his 2021 marketing campaign was admirable, particularly along with his Qatar podium, his 2022 season is a step additional. Having simply turned 42 years of age, Alonso is previous the age that one would anticipate a driver to compete in F1 – not to mention doing it with such willpower and all spherical skill.
The 2-time World Champion has proven no indicators of slowing down, and has now secured a brand new multi-year take care of Aston Martin as he chases the third title that has escaped him for the final 15 years.
Though he sits behind team-mate Esteban Ocon within the drivers’ standings, poor luck within the early a part of the season has amplified his present championship place. Alonso continues to be a big participant in Formulation 1, and there’s little doubt that with the proper automobile, he would have the ability to problem these on the entrance of the sector for race victories, and maybe even the title.
3. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 178 Factors – 2nd within the standings
On the midway level of the season, Leclerc’s championship hopes have been decreased to all however mere wishful considering. After the opening races, it seemed as if Leclerc could be the favorite to take the crown, given his sizeable lead within the championship. However issues haven’t swung his manner, and he now sits 80 factors behind Max Verstappen within the standings.
Not all of that has been his fault, nevertheless. Leclerc has proven admirable pace persistently all through the season, taking various pole positions and a smattering of race victories. However there have been driver errors – most notably his spin from the lead in France – however a lot of the warmth from his faltering season rests with Ferrari.
Bemusing technique calls and reliability points have severely hampered Leclerc, however nonetheless, the Monegasque driver has proven critical development since his 2018 debut and now appears able to compete for the world title. He has a formidable opponent in Verstappen, and simply wants yet one more tiny step to make sure that there’s no double over his skill to problem him. It could be a mammoth praise, given the uncooked pace and consistency of the reigning World Champion.
2. George Russell – Mercedes – 158 Factors – 4th within the standings
In his debut season at Mercedes, issues couldn’t have gone a lot better for the King’s Lynn native. Though Mercedes’ tempo is nowhere close to it has been in recent times, Russell has slot in like a glove. Paired alongside Lewis Hamilton isn’t any straightforward feat, however Russell has comfortably handled the strain.
Though Hamilton has been eager to experiment extra with the automobile set-up amid Mercedes’ 12 months of woe, Russell has persistently chipped away at outcomes and now leads the seven-time World Driver’s Champion within the standings. However via an absence of non-public errors and a dependable energy unit, Russell has picked up a good haul of podiums and high 5 finishes within the first half of the season.
Final day out in Hungary, Russell surprised to take his first pole place, and though the tempo wasn’t there on Sunday to journey for victory, it was a powerful solution to cap off the primary half of the season. If his marketing campaign continues on this style, there’s a really robust motive to imagine that his first Formulation 1 victory will arrive within the second half of 2022.
1. Max Verstappen – Purple Bull Racing – 258 Factors – 1st within the standings
Verstappen merely continued the place he left off in 2021. The reigning World Drivers’ Champion has been supreme this 12 months, and will very effectively break the document for probably the most grand prix wins in a single season, which stands at 13 (held collectively by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher). Eight wins have greeted him to date in 2022 and he has constructed up a sizeable lead within the standings, setting him up for a run to back-to-back Formulation 1 titles.
Verstappen is undoubtedly the strongest driver on the grid at this time. Though his uncooked pace is critical, his race craft and talent hallmark all of the components of a legend within the making.
At simply 24 years of age, there’s no telling simply how far Verstappen will go along with his success in future seasons however 2022 is proving to be very a lot his 12 months. Not solely does that indicators a warning to different drivers and groups that they have to ship one thing particular to beat the Dutchman; the probabilities are that he’ll enhance with age.