2022 F1 Mid-Season Drivers Ranking, Part 1: 20-16 Racing fans

The 2022 Formula 1 season is over, but with the second phase of the season approaching, it’s time to take a look at how the 20 drivers in the grid performed this season over the first 13 rounds.

These ratings are largely based on the RaceFans weekend race driver ratings for each round of the season so far. However, there are other factors that will be taken into account when ranking each driver.

This first part will cover drivers who are ranked lower than their peers. The remaining 15 drivers will be categorized in future articles over the coming days.

N/A – Nico Hulkenberg – Aston Martin

Nico Hulkenberg

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 1/1
Beat his teammate in the race 1/1
finished races 2/2
Spent laps before a teammate 36/106
points 0

It’s easy to forget that Nico Hulkenberg played a role in the first two racing weekends of Formula 1’s new ground-impact era at the start of the 2022 season. By intervening with Sebastian Vettel who tested positive for the virus in the week leading up to the Bahrain Grand Prix, the 181 veteran showed off a start. The Grand Prix has once again the reason for being the most reliable alternative driver available today.

Hulkenberg’s exploits in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were unsurprising compared to his efforts at Racing Point in 2020, but he also did a respectable job in a car that was instantly among the slowest of its peers on the grid. He beat Lance Stroll in Bahrain, but, understandably, struggled with the race’s pace and finished the last of the cars on the track. His performance on Saturday at an unfamiliar circuit in Jeddah was not strong, but on Sunday he was endangered by the early safety car.

Overall, Hulkenberg’s efforts in his two race appearances have proven that he still manages to be one of the top 20 drivers to hold a spot in the Formula 1 grid, but with only two racing holidays to his name, it’s not fair to factor him into the rankings based on such a small sample.

20- Nicholas Latifi – Williams

Nicholas Latifi

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 1/12
Beat his teammate in the race 1/8
finished races 10/13
Spent laps before a teammate 145/636
points 0

Even if he became a racy meme in Formula One fan culture for three seasons in his career, Nicholas Latifi already enjoys the unfortunate distinction of being the least impressive of the 20 drivers on the grid so far in the 2022 season.

But when analyzing the Williams driver’s season so far, his ranking as least among his peers probably speaks more about overall quality on the modern grid than it does about Latif’s efficiency. Compared to some drivers of the past who come to mind quickly, Latifi’s biggest weakness is just a general lack of speed, rather than being a reckless or reckless driver by nature.

Safety car accident in Monaco was not the best of cute times

However, Latifi has certainly made more than his fair share of mistakes so far in 2022. A very bad weekend in Saudi Arabia saw him exit qualifying, and then exit the race with an involuntary foul. The crash under the safety car before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix also stands out as a low point.

Aside from those moments, Latifi was simply frustrated with schedules – fellow qualifier Alexander Albon only once. Ironically, his best weekend came at Silverstone, when he missed the benefit of Williams’ promotion given to Albon. Latifi reached the third quarter for the first time in the wet race (before turning) and then made a decent run to finish 12th, losing 11th in the closing laps.

Latifi doesn’t deserve to be the subject of jokes, but it’s hard to say he also deserves a place among the 20 elite drivers in Formula 1.

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19- Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 2/13
Beat his teammate in the race 3/11
finished races 12/13
Spent laps before a teammate 176/745
points 19

After running the numbers a few times and considering the context of each weekend race based on its own merits, there was no further conclusion to be drawn, but Daniel Ricciardo is the second lowest-ranked driver halfway through the 2022 season.

After a very difficult first year with McLaren in 2021 as he struggled to adapt to the car, 2022 was supposed to be a reset point for Ricciardo. However, the familiar pattern of Ricciardo stumbling as teammate Lando Norris challenged the top of his midfield has only been repeated so far this season, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner scoring less than a quarter of his team’s points from 13 races.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren;  Red Bull Ring, 2022
Ricardo struggled again to keep up with Norris

Ricciardo did a reasonable job at the start of the year when he and Norris had to deal with McLaren’s brake problems, but once they fell behind and Norris got to work quickly, Ricciardo was often way off his teammate. The Turn 1 crash at Imola while Norris’ podium finish was a prime example and was simply nowhere in comparison to Norris at Silverstone and Hungary.

His loss of performance at McLaren is so baffling when he showed he can keep up with Norris, as in Azerbaijan – it’s a rare occurrence. While there is still plenty of time for him to turn his season around, his disappointing performance over a year and a half at Woking shows how McLaren is actively looking for a way out of its commitment to him for 2023.

18 – Mick Schumacher – Haas

Mick Schumacher

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 2/13
Beat his teammate in the race 6/8
finished races 12/13
Spent laps before a teammate 272/592
points 12

In his second season in Formula 1 and his first in a remote competitive car, Mick Schumacher was rocking very noticeably during the first 13 races of the 2022 season.

Schumacher may currently be driving better than he ever did in his F1 career, but his poor start to the campaign disappointed him. While returning Kevin Magnussen shed his cobwebs and scored several final points in the first rounds, Schumacher was unable to support his teammate and help secure vital additional points while the team had the opportunity. A horrific qualifying accident in Jeddah ended the weekend early, while another major accident in Monaco led to a public warning from team boss Guenter Steiner to stop paying the repair bill.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Monaco, 2022
Schumacher used his pace after early crashes

But even when he kept his car on the road, Magnussen was still ahead of Schumacher. It was until the Canadian Grand Prix, when something seemed to shift within Schumacher and he easily threw his strongest race ever, taking his first points in back-to-back rounds in Britain and Austria, including a solid run to sixth place. At the Red Bull Arena.

Throughout his single-seat career, Schumacher was always the strongest in the second half of his second season in a particular category. Will he do it again with the benefit of updated Haas after summer break?

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17- Lance Stroll – Aston Martin

Lance’s Outing

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 3/10
Beat his teammate in the race 4/10
finished races 12/13
Spent laps before a teammate 304/627
points 4

The move from Racing Point to Aston Martin was not particularly successful for the Silverstone-based team and particularly for Lance Stroll. After taking the podium with Williams, Racing Point and even center stage in 2020, Stroll has earned just four points from his first 13 runs in 2022 – his lowest tally at this point in the season since his final year at Williams in 2018.

Despite being the first team to officially reveal their new 2022 competitor, Aston Martin’s AMR22 disappointed. Stroll did not have his four-time winning teammate Sebastian Vettel by his side for the first two rounds of the year, as Nico Hulkenberg got into a very uncharted car in Bahrain and Jeddah and only beat Stroll in Jeddah after colliding with Alexander Albon in closing laps.

Round three in Melbourne was a chaotic weekend for Stroll. He was investigated twice for obstructing practice, crashed before qualifying, hit Nicholas Latifi in Q1 after his team fixed his car, was punished for weaving in the race and was lucky to escape without a second penalty to keep Valtteri Bottas off the track. He rebounded with his first point at Imola and finished 10th again in Miami after starting from the waiting lane.

Multiple marks with the wall in the same qualifying session in Baku weren’t flattering on him, but his form picked up from his home race in Montreal. He held off Vettel solidly in the closing laps for Paul Rijkaard to hold onto the last point, before Budapest was probably his strongest weekend of the season. He successfully qualified Vettel and led well in the race before being rounded by Daniel Ricciardo, then obeyed team orders to let Vettel through for the final point but was denied the ability to retake the place before the checkered flag.

Stroll’s unique privileged position means there is no doubt about his future at Aston Martin, but if he and his team are finally serious about the challenge for victories and championships in the coming years, he will need to show more performances like Budapest and less like Melbourne.

16- Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda

He beat his teammate in the playoffs 5/12
Beat his teammate in the race 2/7
finished races 10/12
Spent laps before a teammate 221/614
points 11

Yuki Tsunoda has endured a challenging first season in Formula 1, showing flashes of speed and talent at times but making a series of mistakes on the track along the way. Given his young age, it was no surprise that Red Bull chose to give Tsunoda a second season to work on developing his skills, given his obvious potential.

In the middle of his second season it is a similar story in 2022 for Tsunoda. Just as there have been moments of brilliance, he has also made some of the biggest blunders of the season so far.

Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Toure, Silverstone, 2022
Tsunoda made some frustrating mistakes

A strong start to the year in Bahrain saw him finish eighth before mechanical problems forced him to miss the second round in Jeddah. The weekend at Imola was arguably the strongest of his nascent F1 career. He was faster than his teammate Pierre Gasly in every session and despite qualifying only in 16th place, he finished four places in the sprint and then five more by the end of a race. Grand Prix for seventh place in the checkered flag.

His weekend in Barcelona was also strong, beating Gasly again and turning his three-point stop strategy to claim the last point, but then immediately followed up with a blunder-filled weekend in Monaco where he inadvertently endangered his teammate. The team in the playoffs by hitting the barriers. She fell to last place in the race after running away at Sainte Devote. Then, a good weekend in Baku was again followed by embarrassing mistakes, exiting the Montreal lane in the race and then spoiling his and his Silverstone teammate’s race with a poorly judged overtaking move.

With so many Red Bull juniors waiting in the wings, Tsunoda cannot afford more disasters in the second leg of the season if he is to make a successful argument for Red Bull to continue investing in his development.

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