1. Max Verstappen (no change) - Got his best car yet, but was nearly flawless. Even in a slight bad run of form early in the season, was "only" putting 2 tenths on Perez in qualy rather than the usual 6 or 7. Even in his rare mistakes he'd figure out a way not to ruin his weekend from them. A force of nature.
2. Charles Leclerc (up 2) - Looked Max's equal at the beginning of the season, but didn't sustain that level all year long, it wasn't just Ferrari going drastically backwards in pace and giving him a series of comically bad strategies mid-season. Carlos started giving him a run for his money specially in qualy late in the year, but, Charles was the clearly faster of the 2 this year, which wasn't quite that clear last year. Now an established top driver. But not Max's equal. Sorry Charles I'm still thinking about Paul Ricard. Ugh.
3. Lando Norris (no change) - To what extent he's being flattered by Daniel Riccardo being like a fish out of water I don't know, but for another year he was super consistent. It's just that this time the McLaren wasn't as good as last year and he stood out less.
4. George Russell (up 2) - Kinda the season he got established as a star and simultaneously kinda the season he got exposed as not quite good enough? It's a weird one. First half of the year he was ahead of Lewis which was a bit of a shock, but it also seemed like Lewis was having a run of bad luck; but then by midseason onwards Lewis suddenly was consistently ahead of him. I'm a bit conflicted which of the 2 Merc drivers should be ahead of each other on this list, at the end the Interlagos win edges it for George and he did seem to have a little end-of-year revival, but he hadn't looked like a top driver for the previous 4 or 5 months. I think he's starting to look more like the new Button rather than the new Lewis, a "top-ish" driver rather than a "top driver".
5. Lewis Hamilton (down 3) - Well read above. This was a 2011-like season for Lewis, kinda off form? It feels as if perhaps Lewis' fans were right and the first half of the season is explained by him struggling to find the right setup but that's still his job. From that point onwards he looked like the Lewis of old, or close to it, but there seems to be a vulnerability creeping in to him.
6. Fernando Alonso (up 1) - Very good, very unlucky (the points loss to Ocon is bullshit), but also weirdly a bit vulnerable in qualifying to his team-mate, which leads me to continue to think the 2022 version of Alonso isn't the peak version of Alonso anymore. Either way, he's still doing quite well for a guy in his fourties - I don't think I've had a driver this old as high in these ratings before.
7. Esteban Ocon (up 2) - Ocon feels like a really boring driver with very little things to get excited about, so 7th at first glance seems flattering, but hey he's keeping Alonso honest, so perhaps he's doing better than the perception of him?
8. Carlos Sainz (down 3) - Bit of a **** season tbh. Early season he was just miles off Charles, then got ALL the good strategies from Ferrari who seemed to conspire against their lead driver, which massively flattered Carlos in points. He was also too often unacceptably slow in race pace. But, by midseason onwards he was very, very competitive in qualy, and did have a couple legit good races.
9. Sergio Perez (up 3) - His best season in results so far, but I feel he's being massively flattered by his car. Don't get me wrong the early season form was impressive, the fact for a change he was within 2 tenths of Max felt exciting. But then he went backwards and it was the old gaps of 20, 30 seconds over a race, 5, 6 tenths to Max over a qualy lap, it's just that the RB was so good that these gaps were still good enough to keep accumulating podiums. Did have a nice end to the season when he seemed to recover to that early form, but, meh. I am not super duper impressed.
10. Alex Albon (re-entry) - Well this was a lot better than expected, he basically returned to F1 and immediately slotted in exactly where Russell had been at Williams, or maybe even better, just blowing Latifi away completely. This confuses me greatly as I didn't really rate Albon high in the past, whereas I did rate Russell. I feel like this is partially explained by Latifi really struggling with this year's car, but, watch this space - maybe Alex is getting a bit of a new chance to re-establish himself.
11. Sebastian Vettel (up 2) - Slightly better than last year but not really good enough for a 4-times champion. Guys, he's barely edging Stroll. This year the gap over Stroll slightly increased but I can see why it's time for the retirement.
12. Valtteri Bottas (down 1) - Did make the most of the Alfa early in the season when it was very good, accumulating a giant points gap over his team-mate, who was struggling with his rookie-ness. However, as Alfa went backwards, Bottas started having a lot of very weird performances. Being beaten in qualy 8 times by a rookie team-mate that came in with not much of a reputation, was really poor by a driver with such a reputation for being a qualifying demon. Starting to look like the stereotypical old driver that is bagging in his lucrative last contract and not giving 100% of a **** anymore.
13. Pierre Gasly (down 5) - Bit fortunate to finally get out of the Red Bull stable and into a works seat (!), because this was a bit backwards from last year. Granted, a lot of that was due to Alpha Tauri massively worsening in performance, but although he was still the most consistent of the AT drivers by far, Yuki beat him too many times for me to be particularly impressed.
14. Kevin Magnussen (re-entry) - I don't quite know what to think, it was an okay return to F1, overall did beat Mick, both in points and in qualifying speed (which for me is usually a slightly better barometer of team-mate performance for these midfield/backmarker teams in which the races are chaotic), the start of the season was very good and that pole in Interlagos was memorable. But the little spreadsheet I use to keep track of wtf happened seems to have quite a hell of a lot of races in which Mick finished in front of Kevin, and I don't really rate Mick very high, neither I did Kevin before he left F1.
15. Nyck de Vries (new entry) - Gets the callup on qualifying day. Drags a **** car to points (admitedly in a track that flattered Williams). Think that says everything, great debut performance, to the point I am rating his unprepared performance above quite a lot of established drivers. But don't get too cocky Nyck, I once was equally impressed by a Formula 1 one-off debut by his Formula E team-mate and he turned out a bit crap in F1 once given a permanent seat - you just never know for sure based on a one-off.
16. Lance Stroll (down 2) - Keeping Vettel honest, which is great, but a) Vettel looks like he really isn't giving that much of a **** about F1 anymore; and b) the numbers seem to suggest the gap to Vettel increased a little bit compared to last year. Meh. He's grown into an okay driver, but still, meh.
17. Mick Schumacher (down 1) - Close to Kevin, but it's telling that Haas are rushing to kick him out? Best thing I can say about Mick is that he's fairly consistent, you don't really ever see a race in which he's very slow, unlike some others, but I also am struggling to think of a single occasion where I've ever watched him (F1, F2, anything) and though "wow, he's quick today". That's not really good enough if you want to stand out at this level and it's perhaps not that much of a shock that the F1 career is seemingly ending quite early.
18. Daniel Ricciardo (down 8) - **** me, Dan is down to the level where I actually think Lance and Mick are performing better than him. The move to McLaren had been catastrophic enough in 2021, but his performances actually went backwards this year. The gap to Lance was large and consistent and although Dan is still a top pro with top racecraft (if we forget that silly lap 1 error in Interlagos) with the occasional okay race, but there were also the "I'm very slow today" races. This is just sad, we know Dan can be a lot better than this, I've put him in my top 3 (!) in the past. Hopefully he can reset back to what he was.
19. Guanyu Zhou (new entry) - This feels harsh, I'm sure a lot of you placed him much higher, but keep in mind I'm rating average overall performance, not peak moments, not potential, not performance compared to expectations. Guanyu was a lot better than we thought. He beat Bottas 8 times in qualy (!), beat him in the races 4 times in the 2nd half of the season, got points, almost never crashed the car. But, he did lose 49-6 in points. And there were the days where he'd be 7 tenths or 8 tenths down on Bottas in Q. The potential is there but is yet to extract it well, which is fine since it was his rookie season.
20. Yuki Tsunoda (down 1) - Bit strange that he went backwards in my ratings despite improving quite a lot, but okay. He's delivering in pace a bit more often, but he's still chaotic and not turning it into results often enough, still binning it here and there, and Gasly is still the lead driver at AT. The potential is there, but it's a long way to go to become the driver we thought he might become in F2. Still far too raw.
21. Nico Hulkenberg (re-entry) - Bit of a slightly rubbish stand-in performance, even though it seems he beat Stroll in Q in Bahrain and in the race in Saudi, which I have no recolection of, my memory is that he didn't really impress, unlike that other time he had stood in for someone at Aston before. But hey, he'll be back next year for good, and I did usually rate him in my top 10 when he was a full time driver, so I expect a lot better once he's back to proper preparation for racing.
22. Nicholas Latifi (down 4) - I said early in the year that Mazepin leaving the sport was the worst thing that could happen to Latifi, and he promptly confirmed it by having a naff year. Crashes early in the season, never really anywhere near Albon's level, just really poor and by far the worst driver of the year, despite still being this nice dude that handles himself super professionally, which I do respect. Oh and he did score points in Suzuka, which is something, at least (but Williams were better this year than in previous years).
Edited by noikeee, 21 November 2022 - 00:22.