Lewis Hamilton opens up on difficult season for Mercedes
Max Verstappen stormed to his second title in consecutive seasons in 2022 as Red Bull dominated Ferrari and Mercedes. The Dutchman secured the crown as early as October as he secured 15 race wins in a record-breaking season. There were also positive campaigns from George Russell and Charles Leclerc who showed glimpses of their star material. But, Lewis Hamilton struggled to match his new team-mate while Daniel Ricciardo suffered a disaster at McLaren. Express Sport rates every F1 driver’s 2022 season out of 10.
Max Verstappen 10/10
With one hand on the championship trophy come the summer break, the Dutchman destroyed his opposition after the restart. A run of eight victories in nine races between July and October highlighted his consistency in what was a season of very few issues.
The reigning champion was only off the podium in three races where he reached the chequered flag and had more points than his nearest rivals by the equivalent of five race wins. The 25-year-old’s only blemish was a string of controversies at the end of the season which almost put a dampener on his success.
He ignored team orders in Brazil and then boycotted Sky Sports F1 after Ted Kravitz appeared to criticise his 2021 title win.
George Russell 10/10
Only two other drivers have beaten Lewis Hamilton over the course of a season and both are now F1 world champions. Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg’s championship-winning success could well be Russell’s destiny after a superb showing to beat the seven-time champion.
Russell secured Mercedes’ only win of the season in Brazil as well as picking up a string of podiums as the team struggled early on.
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Lewis Hamilton struggled as Max Verstappen and George Russell starred
Lando Norris 9/10
Although not challenging the frontrunners, Lando Norris carried the McLaren squad almost single-handedly to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. The McLaren driver beat Daniel Ricciardo 18 times over the course of the season, outscoring the Australian by a staggering 85 points.
Despite McLaren’s struggles, he managed to secure one podium at Imola and came close to repeating the feat in Singapore.
Charles Leclerc 8/10
The Monegasque started the season in excellent form, winning two of the first three races and appearing to be a serious challenger to Verstappen. Ferrari’s reliability issues and countless strategy errors cannot be fully blamed on Leclerc but he still made errors in key moments.
He dropped points in Imola and France and almost lost second in the championship to Sergio Perez after Ferrari’s dire run in the second half of the campaign.
Sergio Perez 7/10
The Mexican also started off well after picking up pole in Saudi Arabia and winning in Monaco. However, his title bid had waned after retiring in Canada and has since been unable to replicate the form of his team-mate.
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Lewis Hamilton 6/10
Hamilton almost looked back to his best when fighting for victories in the United States and Mexico. However, the seven-time champion struggled to get to grips with his Mercedes early on which allowed Russell to open up a points advantage he maintained all year.
Hamilton’s P6 finish in the Drivers’ Championship is his worst ever result while the Briton also lost his run of finishing on the top step of the podium in every season.
Esteban Ocon 6/10
The Frenchman wasn’t able to repeat last season’s shock victory in 2022. But he did get the better of Fernando Alonso on 12 occasions this season and outscored the double world champion by 11 points.
Carlos Sainz 6/10
The Ferrari star threw away his chances of battling for the title early on after a series of crashes. He lost control and dropped points in Australia and two weeks later in Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. However, he picked up his first win of the season at the British Grand Prix in July.
Fernando Alonso lined up on the front row in Canada
Fernando Alonso 6/10
Alonso showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with after flashes of brilliance. His season highlight was starting on the front-row of the grid after mastering wet weather at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas 6/10
The Finn picked up six points finishes over the first seven Grand Prix in an incredible start to his Alfa Romeo career. But, the team’s progress stalled midway through the season as he scored just two points in the entire second half of the year.
Pierre Gasly 6/10
Similar to future team-mate Ocon, there were no standout moments for the Frenchman this season. However, he dominated Yuki Tsunoda, outscoring him by a massive 78 points.
Kevin Magnussen 6/10
The Dane consistently beat his team-mate, Mick Schumacher, despite taking a year out in 2021. He shocked the grid in Brazil after claiming a stunning pole position in the wet conditions.
Sebastian Vettel 5/10
The four-time champion beat his team-mate, Lance Stroll, over the course of the season. He struggled early on but appeared to rediscover his love for the sport after announcing his retirement over the summer to score four points finishes in the final six races.
Daniel Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the season
Alex Albon 5/10
The former Red Bull driver picked up three points finishes this season as he beat Nicholas Latifi a staggering 17 times.
Lance Stroll 4/10
Stroll failed to match his team-mate and continued to struggle to challenge for points. He scored just 18 points all season including six 10th-placed fishes.
Zhou Guanyu 3/10
The Chinese rookie was unable to get the better of Bottas and only finished inside the top 10 on three occasions.
Mick Schumacher 2/10
The young German lost his F1 seat at Haas for 2023 after failing to impress Guenther Steiner. He was involved in heavy shunts in Saudi Arabia, Monaco and Japan which cost the team millions.
Daniel Ricciardo 1/10
The McLaren star was comprehensively outshone by Norris as his F1 nightmare continued. The 33-year-old only scored a best result of P5 but was more often than not outside the points as he struggled to 11th in the standings.
Nicholas Latifi 1/10
Latifi looked out of place all season and struggled to justify a slot on the grid, which is why he’s lost his seat. The Canadian was involved in several crashes and scored just two points all season.