Formula 1 2022 Summer Break Driver Grades: Part Two

Formula 1 2022 Summer Break Driver Grades: Part Two

Formula 1

Formula 1 2022 Summer Break Driver Grades: Part Two

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@redbullracing on Twitter 

The summer break of Formula 1 2022 is here. After a breathless, relentless, and dramatic 13 races, Formula 1 pauses until the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28. Therefore, it is the perfect time to assess the drivers and hand out summer break grades. It’s time to see which drivers have shone and those that need to improve in part two of our summer break grades series. 

Max Verstappen- Red Bull 

The reigning world champion has driven exceptionally in 2022. Relentless consistency, intelligent decisions, and tactical nous have helped Verstappen open a commanding lead in the championship standings. Verstappen’s only ‘off’ weekend occurred at Monaco as he failed to match teammate Sergio Perez on the Principality’s streets. 

Overall, Verstappen has enjoyed a serene run with eight race wins. The standout victory came in Hungary as the Dutchman roared to the win after starting 10th on the grid. If Verstappen maintains this level after the summer break, a second championship is a certainty. 

Race Wins- Eight/Pole Positions- Three/ Top 10 Finishes- 11 /Championship Ranking- First

Summer Break Grade: A+

 

Sergio Perez- Red Bull

From suffering a DNF in the first race of the season to now being third in the Constructors’ Championship, Sergio Perez and the entire Red Bull team have made a nice turnaround. Over the next five races, Perez would find himself just outside the podium in Saudi Arabia and Miami with fourth-place finishes but would have three second-place finishes in Australia, Italy, and Spain. 

With the tire management strength Perez has shown it led to him getting his only win of the season so far during the Monaco Grand Prix. Perez has been consistent this season, outside of the three DNFs he has had this year, he has finished inside the top five of every race he completed. The Red Bull car has remained strong and Perez has been able to make calculated moves throughout the race to put him in a position to have all the top five finishes he has. This should continue after the summer break. 

Race Wins- One /Pole Positions- One/ Top 10 Finishes- 10/ Championship Ranking- Third

Summer Break Grade: A

 

Lewis Hamilton- Mercedes

After a podium finish to start the season in Bahrain it almost looked as if 2022 was going to be a season to forget for the seven-time champion. With the porpoising issues the Mercedes car was dealing with early on, Lewis Hamilton was struggling. Between Saudi Arabia and Monaco Hamilton would only have two top five finishes and even a 13th place finish in Italy. 

Azerbaijan Hamilton started to get back on track with a fourth-place finish, but it was the Canadian Grand Prix when things started to turn around for the Mercedes driver. Since Canada Hamilton has had five consecutive podium finishes. The Mercedes car has been reliable, and with Hamilton’s great racing he sits at sixth in the Drivers’ Championship with 146 points. The consistency should continue and Hamilton’s first win of the 2022 season should happen shortly after the break. 

Race Wins- Zero /Pole Positions- Zero /Top 10 Finishes- 12 /Championship Ranking- Sixth

Summer Break Grade: A

 

George Russell- Mercedes

George Russell’s maiden season at Mercedes is going incredibly well. After waiting so long for a chance at a top team, Russell jumped into the W13 and found it was not the car he expected. 

The 2022 Mercedes car is nowhere near the level of Ferrari and Red Bull; consequently, Russell could have felt disheartened. But, the Englishman has not let the car’s struggles deter him. Russell has demonstrated consistency, maturity, and natural talent. Five podiums, 12 top 10 finishes, and a pole position in Hungary are the headlines from Russell’s season. 

The former Formula 2 champion has settled into his new team nicely, and his relationship with Lewis Hamilton is helping the team get stronger. Russell finished the first half of the season with two consecutive podiums, and that consistency may yield more podiums and a win if things fall for the Kings Lynn driver. 

Race Wins- Zero/Podium Finishes- Five/Top 10 Finishes- 12/Championship Ranking- Fourth

Summer Break Grade: A+

 

Esteban Ocon- Alpine

Esteban Ocon has had mixed results in qualifying. He has been eliminated in Q1 two times, Q2 five times, but has also made it to Q3 six times. Compared to his teammate Fernando Alonso though who has made it to Q3 11 times it is clear Ocon has lacked the speed on Saturdays. And yet, he has made up for it during each race on Sunday. Other than the British Grand Prix where he suffered a DNF, he has only had two finishes where he was outside the top 10. 

Ocon has been an aggressive driver, sometimes a bit too aggressive when it comes to racing against his teammate. His aggressive defensive driving though has led to some good battles as shown in the Austrian Grand Prix against George Russell. There are still improvements that Ocon and the Alpine team have to make, but it has been a solid season so far. 

Race Wins- Zero/ Pole Positions- Zero/ Top 10 Finishes- 10 /Championship Ranking- Eighth

Summer Break Grade: B-

 

Fernando Alonso- Alpine

40-year-old Fernando Alonso is defying father time in 2022 as he continues to drive at his combative best. He has solidly driven his Alpine in the midfield. The former double world champion also rolled back the years in the wet qualifying in Canada to snatch a front row spot on the grid. 

Moreover, Alonso’s trademark relentlessness has helped him finish in the points in eight consecutive races. The last time Alonso finished outside the top 10 was at the Miami Grand Prix. 

The Spaniard is still a world-class driver, and his competitive spirit has not diminished. Alonso will drive for Aston Martin in 2023, showing that his love for racing still burns bright. 

Race Wins- Zero/Pole Positions- Zero/Top 10 Finishes- Nine/Championship Ranking- 10th

Summer Break Grade: B+

 

Yuki Tsunoda- AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda has continued to develop as a Formula 1 driver this season with closer performances to his teammate Pierre Gasly. Still, there is work to do as Tsunoda has made costly errors at points that have led to him having eight penalties. Some of those errors include speeding in the pit lane, going unnecessarily slow in qualifying, impeding track limits, and causing collisions. 

Tsunoda has been able to finish inside the points three times and has been just outside the points multiple times as well. Despite the upgrades AlphaTauri brought in France, Tsunoda in the last two races has had a DNF and a 19th place finish in Hungary. There is still a lot of potential Tsunoda has yet to show, and if AlphaTauri can improve the car Tsunoda could show that potential. 

Race Wins- Zero/Pole Positions- Zero/Top 10 Finishes- Three /Championship Ranking- 16th

Summer Break Grade:  C+

 

Pierre Gasly- AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly’s 2022 season is hard to analyze. At times, the Frenchman’s qualifying performances have wowed. A sixth place start in Azerbaijan, and a seventh place start in Miami are the highlights. However, Gasly’s Sunday performances are raising concerns. Gasly has finished in the points just three times, and his last top 10 came in Azerbaijan.

Furthermore, Gasly’s become a bit of a magnet to early incidents; crashes at Austria, Silverstone, and Bahrain have blotted his 2022 record. Add that to an unreliable, tricky AlphaTauri car, and Gasly has struggled. The consistency which headlined his 2020 and 2021 campaigns is gone. 

Race Wins- Zero/Pole Positions- Zero/Top 10 Finishes- Three/ Championship Standing- 13th

Summer Break Grade- D

 

Alex Albon- Williams

It was a solid start to the season for Alex Albon as in two of the first four races he finished inside the top 10. Since then though things have not gone as smoothly. Albon has not been able to find his way back into the points. The Williams car has lacked the pace compared to the other cars toward the midfield, but the team has confidence in Albon, and Albon must have confidence that better times are ahead as both sides agreed to a multi-year deal for Albon to stay with the team. 

Albon has been able to make the most of the Williams car and has regularly outcompeted his teammate Nicholas Latifi. There won’t be any drastic changes after the break but Albon should stay consistent. 

Race Wins- Zero/Pole Positions-Zero/Top 10 Finishes- Two /Championship Ranking- 19th

Summer Break Grade: C

 

Nicholas Latifi- Williams 

Nicholas Latifi seems to be hanging on to his Williams drive by the fingertips. The likable Canadian has endured a challenging 2022 season. Erratic mistakes and a significant deficit to teammate Alex Albon are not helping Latifi’s cause. 

Latifi trails Albon 11-2 in qualifying head-to-head, and Albon has posted the only points finish for the Williams team. Latifi boasts enough experience, and he more than matched George Russell in 2020 and 2021. With young American Logan Sargeant knocking on the Formula 1 door, Latifi needs a big turnaround this year if he plans to stay in Formula 1. 

Race Wins- Zero/Pole Positions- Zero/Top 10 Finishes- Zero/Championship Ranking- 20th

Summer Break Grade: D-

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