The 2022 Formula 1 season is halfway over, but as the second round of the season approaches, it’s time to take a look at how 20 drivers fared in the first 13 rounds of this season.
These rankings are based on RaceFans’ ratings of the race weekend drivers at each round so far. However, there are other factors to consider when rating each driver.
This first section covers drivers who are rated lower than their peers. The remaining 15 drivers will be classified in future articles in the coming days.
N / A – Nico Hulkenberg – Aston Martin
Beat a teammate 1/1 Beat a teammate in a race 1/1 Finish the race 2/2 laps ahead of a teammate 36/106 points 0
At the start of the 2022 season, it’s easy to forget that Nico Hulkenberg played a role in the first two days of Formula 1’s new ground-effect era. The entry of 181-time Grand Prix veteran Sebastian Vettel, who tested positive for Covid-19 during the week of the Bahrain Grand Prix, showed once again why he is today’s most reliable short-notice replacement driver.
Hulkenberg’s performances in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were less impressive than his 2020 Racing Points effort, but he did a respectable job in a car that was slower than his peers on the grid. In Bahrain, Lance Stroll qualified but understandably struggled with his race pace and finished on the last drive. Saturday’s performance at the unfamiliar Jeddah circuit was not as strong, but Sunday was marred by an early safety car.
All in all, Hülkenberg’s efforts across the two races have proven he is still capable of being one of the 20 drivers to claim a place on the Formula 1 grid, but with only two race weekends to his name, it’s unfair. Based on such a small sample, let him enter the rankings.
20 – Nicholas Laffey – Williams
Beat a teammate 1/12 Beat a teammate in a race 1/8 Finish the race 10/13 laps ahead of a teammate 145/636 points 0
Despite being the most mean-spirited meme in F1 fan culture three seasons into his career, Nicolas Laffey actually has the unfortunate distinction of being the least impressive of the 20 drivers on the grid until the 2022 season.
But in analyzing Williams’ driving season, the fact that he ranks lowest among his peers probably says more about the overall quality of the modern grid than it does about Laffy’s ability. Compared to some drivers who come to mind in the past, Latifi’s biggest weakness is a general lack of speed rather than being a naturally agile or careless driver.
That said, Laffey has so far done more than his fair share of mistakes in 2022. A poor weekend in Saudi Arabia saw him crash out of qualifying, then an unforced error. A crash under the safety car before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix stands out as a low point.
Apart from those times, Latifi was also very poor on the time sheets – just one time out of his team-mate Alexander Albon. Ironically, his best weekend came at Silverstone, when he lost the advantage of the upgraded Williams to Albon. Latifi reached Q3 for the first time in the wet (before spinning) and then had a good run to finish 12th, losing 11th in the closing laps.
Laffy doesn’t deserve to be the subject of a joke, but it’s hard to argue that he deserves a place among the top 20 drivers in Formula 1.
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19 – Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
Beat teammate 2/13 Beat teammate in race 3/11 Finished race 12/13 Laps ahead of teammate 176/745 points 19
After running the numbers several times and considering each race weekend on its own merits, there is no other conclusion but Daniel Ricciardo is the second lowest ranked driver in the mid-2022 season.
In the year 2022 should be a reset point for Ricciardo as he struggles to adapt to the car following a difficult first year with McLaren in 2021. However, Ricciardo’s famous floundering pattern has only been repeated this season when teammate Lando Norris competes at the top of the midfield.
Ricciardo did a reasonable job at the start of the year when he and Norris both had to contend with McLaren’s braking woes, but once behind them and Norris up to speed, Ricciardo often found himself out of step with his team-mate. Cracking through turn one at Imola was a brilliant example of Norris scoring a podium and he was nowhere near the same pace as Norris at Silverstone and The Hangaring.
Even more mysterious is his lack of performance at McLaren when he shows he can match Norris in the likes of Azerbaijan. While he still has time to turn the season around, his disappointing year-and-a-half performance at Woking shows how McLaren are actively looking to withdraw from their 2023 commitment.
18 – Mick Schumacher – Haas
Beat teammate 2/13 beat teammate in race 6/8 finished race 12/13 laps ahead of teammate 272/592 points 12
In his second season in Formula 1 and first in a remotely competitive car, Mick Schumacher has had an impressive swing in form through the first 13 races of 2022.
Schumacher may be driving better than he has in his F1 career at the moment, but he has suffered a poor start to the campaign. While the returning Kevin Magnussen cleared the cobwebs and scored a number of points in the opening laps, Schumacher was unable to support his team-mate and score valuable extra points when the team had the chance. A sickening crash in qualifying at Jeddah ended the weekend early, and another serious accident in Monaco prompted a public warning from team principal Guenther Steiner to stop running up the maintenance bill.
But as he kept his car on track, Schumacher was being outworked by Magnussen, the majority of his teammates. That was until the Canadian Grand Prix, when something changed in Schumacher and he easily delivered his strongest run, scoring his first points in back-to-back rounds in Britain and Austria, including a very strong run to sixth. With a red bull ring.
Throughout his single-seater career, Schumacher has always been strong in the second half of the season, second in the category. Will he do it again with the updated Haas advantage following the summer break?
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17 – Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
Beat a teammate 3/10 Beat a teammate in a race 4/10 Finish the race 12/13 laps ahead of a teammate 304/627 points 4
The transition from Racing Points to Aston Martin was not a successful one for the Silverstone-based team and especially for Lance Stroll. After securing podiums with Williams and Racing Points in 2020, Stroll has just four points from the first 13 rounds in 2022 – his lowest this season since Williams’ last year in 2018.
Despite being the first team to officially reveal their new contender for 2022, Aston Martin’s AMR22 was disappointing out of the blocks. Stroll was without his four-time champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel by his side for the first two rounds of the year, with Nico Hulkenberg entering an unfamiliar car in Bahrain and Jeddah, only to beat Stroll in Jeddah after colliding with Alexander Albon in the closing laps.
Round three in Melbourne was a tumultuous weekend for Stroll. He was twice tested for obstruction in practice, crashed before qualifying, hit Nicolas Laffey in Q1 after his team repaired the car, was penalized for weaving in the race and was lucky to escape a second penalty for pushing Valtteri Bottas off the track. He recovered his first points at Imola and finished tenth after starting from the pitlane in Miami.
A number of labels against the wall in the same qualifying session in Baku didn’t match him, but his form lifted from his home race in Montreal. Paul Ricard held off Vettel strongly in the closing laps before Budapest ended the season’s strongest weekend. He drove well in the race before being overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo, taking out the qualifying Vettel, who was then ordered by team orders to pass Vettel in the final points but was denied the ability to gain position before the checkered flag.
Stroll’s privileged position means his future at Aston Martin is not in question, but he and his team will need to show more work in the coming years for victories and championships in eventual challenges such as Budapest and Melbourne.
16 – Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri
Beat a teammate by a margin 5/12 Beat a teammate in a race 2/7 Finished the race 10/12 Laps ahead of a teammate 221/614 points 11
Yuki Tunoda has endured a challenging first season in Formula 1, showing flashes of speed and skill at times but making a number of mistakes along the way. Given his young age, it’s no surprise that Red Bull chose to give Tsunoda a second season to develop his talent.
It’s the same story for Tsunoda in the middle of the second season and in 2022. As he had his moments of brilliance, he also made the biggest mistakes of his era.
A strong start to the year in Bahrain saw him finish eighth before mechanical problems forced him to miss the second round in Jeddah. His Imola weekend was arguably the strongest of his young Formula 1 career. He was faster than team-mate Pierre Gasly in each session and, although he finished only 16th, he made up four places in the race to take five more places at the end of the Grand Prix to finish seventh at the checkered flag.
Barcelona had a strong weekend as well, with Gaslin winning again and switching to a three-stop strategy to claim the final point, but then unwittingly crashed his team-mate into the barriers in a mistake-filled weekend in Monaco. And after a run at St. Devot, he dropped to last place in the race. A good weekend in Baku was again followed by embarrassing mistakes, a crash from the Montreal pitlane in the race that marred his and his team-mate’s ill-judged run at Silverstone.
With many of Red Bull’s juniors waiting in the wings, Tsunoda cannot afford to take more risks in his second season if he makes a successful case for Red Bull to continue investing in his development.
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