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HomeF12022 mid-season driver rating half 2: 15-11 · RaceFans

2022 mid-season driver rating half 2: 15-11 · RaceFans

The second a part of RaceFans’ mid-season driver rankings covers the drivers within the decrease center finish of the desk.

15 – Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo

Zhou Guanyu

Beat crew mate in qualifying 3/13
Beat crew mate in race 1/8
Races completed 9/13
Laps spent forward of crew mate 71/585
Factors 5

As the one rookie on the Components 1 grid for 2022 and having been awarded a race seat over the driving force who beat him for final 12 months’s Components 2 title – Oscar Piastri – there was all the time going to be an additional stage of scrutiny over Zhou Guanyu this season.

Nevertheless, whereas the rookie class of 2021 all had main struggles at numerous phases of their first campaigns in Components 1, Zhou has acquitted himself pretty admirably by comparability. It’s onerous to consider any main errors or embarrassing blunders made by China’s first ever Components 1 race driver over his first 13 races to this point. Even his lowlight of the season, a horrific accident in the beginning of the British Grand Prix, was totally out of his management.

Zhou benefited from his Alfa Romeo being fast from the beginning of the season, taking a degree on his grand prix debut in Bahrain. He was not the perfect qualifier in the beginning of the 12 months, usually lining up a number of rows behind crew mate Valtteri Bottas, however his expertise for scything his approach up the sector rapidly earned him reward from his Alfa Romeo crew for his racecraft.

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Red Bull Ring, 2022
Zhou has been pretty clear in his rookie 12 months

Bottas collected respectable factors over the primary a part of the season and Zhou struggled to again up his crew mate’s haul. However he was not helped by a number of technical failures that took him out of races in Miami, Barcelona, Baku and Paul Ricard, the place he was technically categorised. Zhou has suffered extra mechanical retirements than any of his friends to this point this season.

When Alfa Romeo started to lose floor within the pecking order, Zhou’s kind appeared to select up. He reached Q3 for the primary time in a moist Montreal whereas Bottas was eradicated, earlier than taking his second factors end the day after. He took ninth on the grid in Silverstone earlier than his retirement, however Paul Ricard was maybe his sloppiest weekend, lacking the Q1 minimize with a mistake, dropping 4 locations in the beginning and incomes a penalty for spinning Mick Schumacher.

His critics might need grounds to level to the factors deficit between Zhou and Bottas, however that alone doesn’t inform the entire story of a driver who has proven he’s greater than competent in a Components 1 automotive. If Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda deserved second seasons after their rookie campaigns – and so they did – then Zhou is on a path to doing the identical.

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14 – Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel

Beat crew mate in qualifying 7/10
Beat crew mate in race 6/10
Races completed 9/11
Laps spent forward of crew mate 323/627
Factors 16

Though it was not identified on the time that it could be Sebastian Vettel’s remaining season in Components 1, trying again it’s onerous to consider how his final 12 months in F1 might have began any worse than it did.

Lacking the primary two races of the season as a result of a constructive covid take a look at, Vettel was already on the again foot when he returned to the cockpit in Melbourne in comparison with his fellow drivers who had two rounds’ price of expertise in Components 1’s new floor impact period beneath them. His opening race weekend might hardly have gone worse. A mechanical failure value him most of Friday working, he crashed in remaining apply and was fortunate to get out in any respect in qualifying, then went off observe on lap ten falling to the again earlier than crashing out on lap 23.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Albert Park, 2022
Vettel endured a nightmare first race in Melbourne

However after such a nightmare weekend, he adopted it up brilliantly in Imola to take seventh place and Aston Martin’s first factors of the season. Miami was one other irritating Sunday the place a late conflict with protege Mick Schumacher value one other factors end, however he continued to knock of the door of factors completed after Aston Martin launched their large improve bundle in Barcelona.

Baku was the perfect results of the season, securing sixth place after Yuki Tsunoda was pressured to pit regardless of having a quick journey down an escape highway alongside the best way. Poor qualifying performances hampered Aston Martin over the run previous to the summer time break, however Vettel managed to maintain gaining positions in races. A number of racing incidents on the Purple Bull Ring left him pissed off, earlier than he was denied a degree in Paul Ricard after a final lap battle with crew mate Stroll. Hungary supplied his fifth factors end of the season, however largely as a result of Stroll being made to maneuver over to permit him to assault Esteban Ocon with superior tyres within the closing laps, with Stroll having had the measure of him within the race as much as that time.

Vettel is not going to be including to his tally of 4 world championships earlier than he hangs up his helmet, but it surely appears he’s on observe to soundly beating his far youthful crew mate within the championship standings by season’s finish.

13 – Alexander Albon – Williams

Alexander Albon

Beat crew mate in qualifying 11/12
Beat crew mate in race 7/8
Races completed 10/13
Laps spent forward of crew mate 491/145
Factors 3

After being unceremoniously dropped by Purple Bull on the finish of the 2020 season and spending a 12 months pulling late nights within the simulator, Alexander Albon returned to the Components 1 grid to fill the Williams seat vacated by George Russell for 2022.

Nonetheless within the midst of transition and waiting for the long run, Williams didn’t simply want a driver, however a pacesetter. On condition that Williams introduced they’d signed Albon to a multi-year contract extension in the beginning of the summer time break, it seems they’re happy they’ve discovered what they’re searching for in Albon.

The Williams FW44 is probably going the slowest automotive within the subject, but that didn’t cease him from progressing to Q2 at his first try in Bahrain and taking a decent thirteenth place end on his F1 return. Jeddah was much less profitable, incomes a penalty for a misjudged transfer on Lance Stroll late within the race, however he produced one of many drivers of the season to this point in Melbourne. Ranging from the very again of the sector after a penalty, Albon ran 57 of the 58 lap race on onerous tyres to place himself able to emerge forward of Zhou Guanyu in tenth after a gradual pit cease and declare the crew’s first level in tenth.

Alexander Albon, Williams, Albert Park, 2022
Albon ran virtually your complete race on one set of tyres in Melbourne

Two extra sturdy weekends in Miami and Imola solely additional added to his standing as top-of-the-line performing drivers of the season as much as that time, however then the subsequent two rounds would serve to tank his common score. A messy race in Monaco noticed him earn a penalty for lacking the chicane, seem to carry up Charles Leclerc beneath blue flags, run off at Sainte Commit twice and clip the Rascasse barrier attempting to move Zhou Guanyu, finally resulting in his retirement. Ground harm gained over the kerbs early in Barcelona left him off the tempo and he earned a 5 second penalty for exceeding observe limits a number of instances.

When Williams gave him the up to date automotive, he was unable to profit from it in Silverstone when he was eradicated in Q1 after which hit within the melee in the beginning. On the Purple Bull Ring, he certified strongly however dropped to fifteenth within the dash race with a penalty for pushing Lando Norris off observe then clashed with Sebastian Vettel. Breaking his entrance wing on the opening lap in Hungary by hitting Stroll successfully ended any probabilities of an honest run earlier than the summer time break started.

Even whether it is close to the again of the grid, Alexander Albon has confirmed he’s deserving of being again on the grid with some sturdy performances to this point in 2022. Now Williams want him to provide them extra as they combat to keep away from ending backside within the constructors’ championship.

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12 – Esteban Ocon – Alpine

Esteban Ocon

Beat crew mate in qualifying 4/12
Beat crew mate in race 6/10
Races completed 12/13
Laps spent forward of crew mate 315/691
Factors 58

Esteban Ocon has loved a stable season to this point in 2022. He might not have fairly the standout outcomes and performances as a lot of his rivals, however he his quietly amassed 58 factors over the primary 13 races of the season to this point, leaving in eighth place within the constructors’ championship.

It could be straightforward to take a look at the stats and examine him to crew mate Fernando Alonso and assume that he’s displaying his far older crew mate tips on how to do it in 2022, however that’s not the case. Though Ocon has been an everyday factors earner for Alpine and has performed his function in serving to them earn fourth within the constructors’ championship at this stage of the season.

Ocon’s greatest performances got here at Barcelona, transferring from twelfth on the grid to complete a cushty seventh, and on the Purple Bull Ring the place he certified fifth and completed the grand prix in fifth after dropping fourth to George Russell’s recovering Mercedes within the closing laps. Solely a gas pump failure at Silverstone denied him what might have been a six race scoring streak main into the summer time break.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Hungaroring, 2022
Ocon has raced crew mate Alonso very onerous at instances

However regardless of his stable finishes, he has courted controversy a regarding variety of instances. In Monaco, Ocon was fortunate to not obtain two penalties for defending from Lewis Hamilton in a really aggressive method, finally dropping out of the factors as a result of a 5 second penalty. Later within the 12 months, he was handed one other penalty in Paul Ricard when he pitched Yuki Tsunoda right into a spin on the opening lap.

Even his personal crew mate had purpose to complain about his actions. In each Jeddah and on the Hungaroring, Alonso was lower than impressed with how onerous his crew mate defended from him whereas they battled on observe. Whether or not or not that will have contributed to Alonso’s resolution to change to Aston Martin for subsequent season is uncertain, however most likely unlikely.

Given the efficiency hole between the entrance groups and the midfield, there’s little alternative for Ocon to problem for podiums at current. However whereas Alpine will probably be very happy for him to maintain accumulating factors of their battle with McLaren, a couple of fewer incidents via the second section of the 12 months is not going to be unwelcome.

11 – Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

Beat crew mate in qualifying 7/12
Beat crew mate in race 5/7
Races completed 10/13
Laps spent forward of crew mate 393/614
Factors 16

After impressing so incessantly in 2021 by placing his AlphaTauri into the highest six grid positions extra instances than many would have ever anticipated, the 2022 season has seen Gasly and his crew introduced again all the way down to earth with far fewer factors than they’d amassed at this stage final 12 months.

With a much less succesful automotive comes fewer alternatives to attain sturdy outcomes, but Gasly has typically taken benefit of the instances when he has been inside attain of an honest end. He suffered unhealthy luck in Jeddah by pitting simply earlier than the early Security Automotive however managed to claw his approach again to complete eighth regardless of extreme belly ache within the remaining laps. In Monaco, he was knocked out in Q1 due to a purple flag brought on by his crew mate, however solely simply missed out on a degree when he was promoted to eleventh on the chequered flag.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Gasly ran fourth till the closing laps in Baku

By far his strongest weekend got here in Baku, the place the AlphaTauri was particularly sturdy. Taking sixth on the grid to separate the 2 Mercedes, he ran in fourth into the ultimate third of the race earlier than being handed by Lewis Hamilton, finally ending fifth. Nevertheless, whereas being his greatest results of the season, Baku was additionally the final time he or crew mate Yuki Tsunoda scored any factors earlier than the summer time break.

His greatest probability of scoring once more got here at Silverstone, however being hit by his crew mate resulted in his later retirement. A number of penalties in Austria for observe limits and hitting Sebastian Vettel ruined his race, whereas he struggled for tempo at Paul Ricard and completed nicely exterior the factors.

Within the remaining race earlier than the break on the Hungaroring, Gasly was left with a mountain to climb after he was eradicated in Q1 when his greatest time was deleted for a contentious observe limits name. Taking a brand new energy unit pressured him to the pit lane and he confirmed higher tempo than his crew mate, resulting in his crew telling Tsunoda to permit him by. He completed out of the factors in twelfth, however nonetheless did nicely to take action after ranging from the pit lane in a race the place just one automotive didn’t take the chequered flag.

With Gasly apparently set for an additional season with AlphaTauri for subsequent 12 months, there’s no strain on him for the remainder of 2022. However Gasly will probably be hoping for extra alternatives to take factors as soon as racing begins once more.

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