Another year of Formula 1 is over, with Max Verstappen becoming a two-time world champion whilst his Red Bull team won the constructors’ championship in a less dramatic and controversial season than 2021.
Charles Leclerc led the championship early on but Ferrari‘s title challenge quickly faded after mistakes from the driver and team.
Mercedes‘ run as the number one constructor came to an end with just one victory to their name, courtesy of George Russell at the Brazilian Grand Prix whilst Lewis Hamilton‘s streak of wins every season is now over.
AlphaTauri had a disappointing campaign down in ninth and there were farewells to Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi, at least for now.
We are going to rate all 20 full-time drivers who have competed this year in terms of how they performed over the season.
Team errors such as reliability, strategy blunders, slow pit stops and any misfortune does not count towards the ratings. It’s purely down to what the drivers did behind the wheel.
Max Verstappen 9/10
It’s been a sensational season from Verstappen as the Dutchman underlined why he is the driver to beat in F1 with some outstanding performances.
He made it normal to win from down the order in Hungary, Belgium and Italy having started in 10th, 14th and seventh respectively.
In terms of pure pace, he has not had a bad weekend which is a ridiculous thing to write. You can point to Monaco and Singapore but on both occasions, he had bad luck in qualifying which was not his fault.
Verstappen has the potential to re-write the history books and only being in an inferior car will stop him from adding to his two titles.
Sergio Perez 7/10
Sergio Perez was quick out of the blocks and enjoyed the handling of the RB18 which made him a championship contender.
But, he dipped in the middle of the season and was sometimes a long way off the pace of Verstappen in qualifying or in the race.
It was slightly better than 2021 and you have to credit Perez for keeping his head and not being completely battered every weekend.
He has been there to pick up the pieces at important times and contributed to several 1-2s and 1-3s.
Charles Leclerc 8/10
Charles Leclerc has clearly been the second best driver this year, which is a big compliment, not a criticism.
There were a few important errors such as when pushing overtake Perez in Imola or prior to his first pit stop at the French GP.
Other than that, he has convincingly beat Carlos Sainz over 22 events and rarely been the second Ferrari driver on a weekend.
Give him a great car that’s developed properly and a team that limit their mistakes, Leclerc will be a world champion one day.
Carlos Sainz 7/10
A maiden pole position and win at the British GP will be remembered forever by Sainz but he’s missed a tenth or two compared to Leclerc, particularly with race pace.
He went missing at the Bahrain, Hungarian, Dutch, Singapore and Abu Dhabi GP for example.
Even at Silverstone where he won, Leclerc was probably the better driver but lost out due to Ferrari‘s call to not give him fresh rubber following the final safety car.
Sainz needs to do a bit more to prove he can win a championship on merit. However, it’s still been a good season for the Spaniard.
George Russell 7.5/10
When Mercedes had the car to win George Russell was there, though he has had a lot more fortune than Lewis Hamilton with safety cars in particular which swung the points in his favour.
His maiden pole position in Budapest was one of the highlights of the season because it was unexpected and showcased Russell‘s talent.
For the majority of 2022 it has felt like the 2018 Formula 2 champion has been slightly off Hamilton which is not the worst thing for your first 12 months alongside the seven-time world champion.
But when coming to rate the Mercedes pair, they are pretty much equal overall when weighing everything up.
Lewis Hamilton 7.5/10
For only the third time, Hamilton has been beaten by his teammate in the championship, but he’s been just as good as Russell.
It’s very difficult to judge Hamilton‘s early season because he was messing around with experimental setups in a bid to extract more performance from the car.
Since he stopped that, Hamilton has been stronger than Russell in every department. That’s no coincidence.
Not by a big margin it has to be said and racing mistakes in Belgium, Singapore and Brazil were costly.
Definitely not one of Hamilton‘s best years in F1, but still much better than most of the field because some of his drives have been sensational despite not winning.
Esteban Ocon 6.5/10
Esteban Ocon has been solid, but not outstanding. He’s made very few mistakes and has consistently performed well for Alpine.
Similarly to Russell at Mercedes, Ocon has had more good luck which is why he’s finished higher in the championship.
On pure pace, the Frenchman hasn’t had too many weekends where he has been the lead Alpine driver.
Spa and Suzuka were excellent for Ocon as he showed his racecraft with great overtakes and a superb race-long defence in the wet against Hamilton. It’s just a shame we didn’t get more of that.
Fernando Alonso 7.5/10
Four mechanical retirements and a collision that wasn’t his fault when Fernando Alonso would have scored a good haul of points have let him down.
From a driving perspective he has been amazing and is showing no signs of slowing down at the age of 41.
His drive from 17th to fifth in Sao Paulo was one of the drives of the year, just 24 hours after some inter-team controversy.
Alonso has always been known for getting everything out of the car and he’s done that more often than not this season, as has the next driver we’re going to talk about.
Lando Norris 8/10
Lando Norris has had yet another exceptional year, continuing where he left off in 2021.
Arguably the most underrated driver of 2022, Norris‘ brilliant third place in Imola was the only non-Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes podium this season.
To finish ahead of Alonso and Ocon in the championship despite having a worse car is a phenomenal result and Norris can’t do any more than what he’s doing.
Daniel Ricciardo 3.5/10
Conversely, Daniel Ricciardo‘s disappointment continued, so poor that McLaren decided to terminate his contract which has left him without a seat for 2023.
A lack of confidence and psychologically not being in the right place held Ricciardo back as he was consistently a few tenths off the pace compared to Norris.
We all know Ricciardo can be much better than that and it would be fascinating to see him return to F1 with a different team because the last two years have been a nightmare.
Valtteri Bottas 5.5/10
Valtteri Bottas didn’t exactly set the world alight at Alfa Romeo, although some very good performances earlier in the season in Imola and Barcelona gave us an indication that he would blow Zhou Guanyu away.
Instead, Zhou began to match him as Bottas went missing at times. Some of that can be put down to the car but you can’t help but feel the Finn also didn’t maximise what he had.
A bit more aggression is still needed from Bottas, especially in the midfield which is so close.
Zhou Guanyu 5/10
Zhou did better than many people expected, but let’s be clear, the Chinese driver was still average overall.
To beat Bottas on merit in some qualifying sessions, considering how strong the former Mercedes driver is over one lap, was excellent from Zhou and he had some reliability misfortune too.
He showed great character by recovering from his horrifying crash at Silverstone by not being too shabby a week later at the Red Bull Ring.
It’s that one wow moment that we didn’t see at all which is disappointing.
Sebastian Vettel 6.5/10
Sebastian Vettel has had a similar end to his career as his former teammate Kimi Raikkonen – not so good in qualifying most of the time but makes up for it in the race.
Following the confirmation of his retirement ahead of the Hungarian GP, it almost felt like Vettel was driving more freely and he had some amazing performances.
He could have scored more points in USA, Brazil and Abu Dhabi which would have seen Aston Martin get that sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
F1 will miss Vettel and it’s nice that he ended with some drives that were not a million miles away from his title-winning years.
Lance Stroll 5/10
Lance Stroll‘s inconsistency has not gone away as he just cannot put a string of great performances together in back-to-back weekends.
He’s been oblivious at times and when the car was worthy of scoring points, Vettel was much better most of the time.
Stroll has shown his potential though, it’s just frustrating he can’t do it more because there is a very good driver in there.
Kevin Magnussen 5/10
Kevin Magnussen had a phenomenal return to F1 with fifth place at the season-opening Bahrain GP, which turned out to be the high point of his campaign.
When the car was capable of scoring points, Magnussen took advantage but, again, it feels like there was a bit more to be extracted at times.
Plus, Mick Schumacher was a match for Magnussen for the majority of the season on pure pace. It wasn’t like the Dane was dominant, far from it.
Mick Schumacher 4.5/10
Schumacher does not deserve to lose his place on the grid and has arguably been unfairly treated by Haas.
He had two huge crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco but came fighting back and had the upper hand on Magnussen in the middle of the season.
Strategy errors meant Schumacher didn’t score more points than the 12 he got. Just like Ricciardo, Schumacher deserves another chance with a different team.
Pierre Gasly 5.5/10
AlphaTauri have had a poor car in 2022 so Pierre Gasly hasn’t shone as he did in 2020 and 2021.
But, Gasly has been reeled in by Yuki Tsunoda and his clear advantage from the year before vanished.
Difficult to judge the now Alpine driver, so that’s why he’s in the middle of the park for these ratings.
Yuki Tsunoda 4.5/10
Much better from Tsunoda, however he has made some very silly errors. His crash in Canada, colliding with Gasly at Silverstone and throwing away laps in qualifying which meant he didn’t progress to the next segment have dented his season.
On pure pace, the 22-year-old is getting there and has just about earned the right for a third season.
If he can iron out the mistakes and is ahead of new teammate Nyck de Vries, we might see Tsunoda take off.
Alex Albon 6/10
Alex Albon has had some very good performances this year in a challenging car. His drive in Belgium to use the straight line speed of the FW44 to keep cars behind to finish in 10th was fantastic.
He was up against a very poor Nicholas Latifi so it’s hard to rate how good Albon was and whether he maximised the potential of what he had enough.
Qualifying has been good too though, not quite as spectacular as Russell in the Williams but not far behind.
Nicholas Latifi 3/10
Unfortunately a driver has to be at the back in F1 and that does to Latifi this season. His 2021 was actually OK, but he’s been very disappointing and simply not been at the races.
The Canadian made the Williams look worse than it was, so far adrift of Albon and has had nothing to cheer about other than his ninth in Suzuka.