Formula 1 driver ratings: Ranking all 2022 drivers, with Max Verstappen and George Russell the stars


With 22 rounds in the books and a world champion long-crowned, it’s time to rate the drivers for their performances in the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Taking into account every qualifying and every race, we rate the 20-strong grid out of 10 – with drivers sorted from the lowest rating, to the highest. Who gets top marks?

Nicholas Latifi: 5

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi went off the Suzuka track for the second time during Friday's practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

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Williams driver Nicholas Latifi went off the Suzuka track for the second time during Friday’s practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi went off the Suzuka track for the second time during Friday’s practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Championship position: 20th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 2-19

The end of the road in Formula 1 for Nicholas Latifi, who in truth did well to last three seasons. 2022 was arguably his most disappointing, with the former Formula 2 standout never getting to grip with the new cars.

Seeing Latifi lagging well behind the field at the back became a regular occurrence, although he at least got a nice F1 send-off with some points in Japan. Before that, he was behind substitutes Nyck de Vries, and Nico Hulkenberg in the standings…

Daniel Ricciardo: 5

Check out some highlights from Daniel Ricciardo's incredible career in Formula One, with the Australian returning to Red Bull as third driver next season.

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Check out some highlights from Daniel Ricciardo’s incredible career in Formula One, with the Australian returning to Red Bull as third driver next season.

Check out some highlights from Daniel Ricciardo’s incredible career in Formula One, with the Australian returning to Red Bull as third driver next season.

Championship position: 11th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 2-19

Daniel Ricciardo came into 2022 full of optimism, hoping an all-new car would help him re-find the confidence he so dearly lacked the previous year. He ends 2022 with a contract terminated early, and heading back to his former team as a third driver.

It’s been a tough-to-watch, unexpected decline for Ricciardo, who somehow managed to have an even worse 2022 than he did 2021. The Australian just never found confidence, or form this year, with only seven points-scoring finishes compared to his team-mate’s 18, and a dreadful qualifying record to boot. Considering that, McLaren really had little option but to look elsewhere.

Will we see Ricciardo race in F1 ever again?

Lance Stroll: 5.5

Lance Stroll forces his Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel onto the grass at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint race.

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Lance Stroll forces his Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel onto the grass at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint race.

Lance Stroll forces his Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel onto the grass at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint race.

Championship position: 15th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 7-13

It was another disappointing year for Lance Stroll, with his lowest points tally since leaving Williams four years ago and a continued, worrying, streak of being out-qualified by his team-mate in all of his six F1 seasons.

Stroll, while certainly not helped by an underperforming Aston Martin car, waited until round 17 in Singapore to finish higher than 10th in a race and, with only two retirements, a final tally of 18 points isn’t great at all. A tough season up against Fernando Alonso awaits.

Zhou Guanyu: 6

A horrific crash in the opening lap of the British GP sees Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo flip upside down and go over the safety barriers.

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A horrific crash in the opening lap of the British GP sees Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo flip upside down and go over the safety barriers.

A horrific crash in the opening lap of the British GP sees Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo flip upside down and go over the safety barriers.

Championship position: 18th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 8-14

Not the worst rookie season by any means by Zhou Guanyu, although being thrashed by his team-mate and scoring points in only three races also doesn’t convince us he’s a future star.

Zhou’s best result and drive came in Canada – finishing eighth – and you sense he needs a lot more of those to convince Alfa Romeo, who will soon become Audi, that he’s a long-term candidate.

Mick Schumacher: 6

Haas’ Mick Schumacher aquaplanes and crashes in the barrier after the end of Practice One at the Japanese F1.

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Haas’ Mick Schumacher aquaplanes and crashes in the barrier after the end of Practice One at the Japanese F1.

Haas’ Mick Schumacher aquaplanes and crashes in the barrier after the end of Practice One at the Japanese F1.

Championship position: 16th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 6-16

2022 gave Mick Schumacher the positives of his first Formula 1 points a Silverstone, and that kickstarted a run of back-to-back top-10 finishes. Unfortunately, those were his only points-scoring races and 2022 also gave him the huge negative of losing his F1 seat.

Even as a junior, Schumacher was more consistent than lightning quick and that lack of outright pace has plagued his F1 career, while this season also saw the German have several costly crashes. The latter probably cost him more than the former in the end.

Yuki Tsunoda: 6

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo drove into Yuki Tsunoda, with the AlphaTauri driver forced to retire from the Mexico City Grand Prix as a result.

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McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo drove into Yuki Tsunoda, with the AlphaTauri driver forced to retire from the Mexico City Grand Prix as a result.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo drove into Yuki Tsunoda, with the AlphaTauri driver forced to retire from the Mexico City Grand Prix as a result.

Championship position: 17th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 9-13

Yuki Tsunoda’s start to 2022 – with top-10 finishes in half of the first six rounds – suggested that he may be ready to make the leap in F1.

He struggled after that, however, and the only thing that has earned him a third season at AlphaTauri is that his defeats to Pierre Gasly weren’t quite as big as before. He hasn’t just secured a new deal, but he will also be leading the team, at first at least, with experienced rookie Nyck de Vries drafted in.

Pierre Gasly: 6.5

Pierre Gasly completes a neat overtake on Lando Norris early on at the US GP.

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Pierre Gasly completes a neat overtake on Lando Norris early on at the US GP.

Pierre Gasly completes a neat overtake on Lando Norris early on at the US GP.

Championship position: 14th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 13-9

After two impressive years back at Red Bull’s junior team, 2022 represented a significant drop-off for Pierre Gasly.

That was largely because AlphaTauri went from arguably having the fourth fastest car to the ninth, with their lead driver going from 15 top-10 finishes to just six. Gasly still led the team and comfortably beat team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, and the time is right for him to fly the Red Bull nest.

It will be interesting to see who wins that all-French line-up between him and Esteban Ocon at Alpine.

Alex Albon: 7.5

Alex Albon reflects on a tough race at Spa as he finishes tenth at the Belgian Grand Prix to earn a precious point for Williams.

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Alex Albon reflects on a tough race at Spa as he finishes tenth at the Belgian Grand Prix to earn a precious point for Williams.

Alex Albon reflects on a tough race at Spa as he finishes tenth at the Belgian Grand Prix to earn a precious point for Williams.

Championship position: 11th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 19-2

With only his team-mate behind him in the full-time driver standings, you could think Alex Albon had a rough first year at Williams. But his position and points tally (four) is much more a knock on Williams than it is the former Red Bull driver, who filled the void left by George Russell superbly.

Albon’s season included three top-10s in a poor car, and even a Q3 appearance in Belgium. Williams are in safe hands with Albon at the helm, and he will lead the team again next year with rookie Logan Sargeant joining.

Kevin Magnussen: 7.5

Haas' Kevin Magnussen capitalised on changeable weather conditions and a red flag to secure the first pole position of his career at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

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Haas’ Kevin Magnussen capitalised on changeable weather conditions and a red flag to secure the first pole position of his career at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen capitalised on changeable weather conditions and a red flag to secure the first pole position of his career at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Championship position: 13th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 16-6

A rollercoaster 2022 for Kevin Magnussen as he went from not having an F1 seat in February to having a pole position in November. Magnussen was drafted in for Nikita Mazepin just before the season began, then finished fifth in his first race back two years.

After three top-10 finishes in the first four rounds in a quicker-than-expected Haas, the year got a lot tougher for the Dane – with a fair few collisions – although he finished the season with a fairy-tale pole in Brazil, while his pace was strong enough that Mick Schumacher was the fall guy when Haas considered their 2023 driver options.

Sebastian Vettel: 7.5

After 53 victories, 122 podiums, and four world titles in an F1 career spanning 15 years, Sebastian Vettel is retiring. Ted Kravitz looks back on Vettel's career.

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After 53 victories, 122 podiums, and four world titles in an F1 career spanning 15 years, Sebastian Vettel is retiring. Ted Kravitz looks back on Vettel’s career.

After 53 victories, 122 podiums, and four world titles in an F1 career spanning 15 years, Sebastian Vettel is retiring. Ted Kravitz looks back on Vettel’s career.

Championship position: 12th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 13-7

Sebastian Vettel had a difficult start to 2022, missing the first two races through Covid-19 and then returning to a dreadfully slow Aston Martin car, which he still managed to score points in in four of his first eight races of the season.

Once the team found pace, Seb scored results and this was arguably his most competitive F1 season since 2018, although ultimately Aston Martin didn’t show enough promise to convince the four-time champion stick around. The timing of his retirement feels about right.

Valtteri Bottas: 7.5

Another spin in the United States Grand Prix sees Valtteri Bottas ending his race in the gravel and deploying the first safety car.

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Another spin in the United States Grand Prix sees Valtteri Bottas ending his race in the gravel and deploying the first safety car.

Another spin in the United States Grand Prix sees Valtteri Bottas ending his race in the gravel and deploying the first safety car.

Championship position: 10th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 14-8

Valtteri Bottas was pretty much as advertised at Alfa Romeo in his first year, and that’s a massive plus. Arriving from Mercedes, Bottas led the Alfa Romeo team – who in the first half of the season were regular top-10 contenders – and consistently beat his rookie team-mate.

After scoring points in six of the first eight rounds, Bottas’ points flurry slowed as Alfa Romeo did on the track, although he still kept up the standards we became used to alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz: 7.5

A dramatic start at the United States Grand Prix sees Mercedes' George Russell send Ferrari's Carlos Sainz spinning.

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A dramatic start at the United States Grand Prix sees Mercedes’ George Russell send Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz spinning.

A dramatic start at the United States Grand Prix sees Mercedes’ George Russell send Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz spinning.

Championship position: 5th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 7-15

Given how good his debut Ferrari season was, 2022 was a little bit disappointing for Carlos Sainz. His eyes lit up early in the season when it appeared Ferrari had a package worthy of a championship bid, although two DNFs and no victories from the first nine races meant he was never in the title reckoning.

A mixed season did include his first victory – holding his nerve at Silverstone – although after that triumph he didn’t finish higher than third for the rest of the season. A shame, and he’ll hope that he gets back on terms with Leclerc, and Ferrari with Red Bull, in 2023.

Sergio Perez: 7.5

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez battle once again in Abu Dhabi, but the roles have reversed when compared to last year.

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Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez battle once again in Abu Dhabi, but the roles have reversed when compared to last year.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez battle once again in Abu Dhabi, but the roles have reversed when compared to last year.

Championship position: 3rd
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 4-18

It was ultimately a successful season for Sergio Perez – with more wins, podiums and a higher championship position than ever before – although not one that dispels perception that he is Red Bull’s second driver.

Perez started the season well, on a very similar pace to Verstappen, and his Monaco GP win put him in title reckoning – and earnt him a new multi-year contract. But his only other victory in 2022 came in Singapore (via another fine street-race drive), and in fact he only finished ahead of Verstappen on one other occasion, at Silverstone when his team-mate had a car issue.

Given Red Bull’s pace advantage, third is a disappointing end result although Red Bull do appear to have a very solid number two, which is all they really need for titles given Verstappen’s success.

Esteban Ocon: 8

Anthony Davidson and Esteban Ocon take a look back at the Alpine driver's strong performance which saw him make 2 double over-takes.

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Anthony Davidson and Esteban Ocon take a look back at the Alpine driver’s strong performance which saw him make 2 double over-takes.

Anthony Davidson and Esteban Ocon take a look back at the Alpine driver’s strong performance which saw him make 2 double over-takes.

Championship position: 8th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 10-12

While beating Fernando Alonso over a season flattered Esteban Ocon a little bit in 2022 – he had far fewer reliability issues – the Frenchman was a top-10 machine for Alpine, scoring points in all but four of the races he finished in his best-ever F1 campaign.

His best results came in Austria and Japan, where he held off a charging Lewis Hamilton in tricky conditions, while a new challenge comes in 2023. He will now be tasked with leading the Renault-owned Alpine team for the first time, as Pierre Gasly joins. Beat Gasly, and Ocon’s reputation will grow further.

Fernando Alonso: 8

Fernando Alonso was forced to retire in Mexico City after suffering an engine failure in his Alpine on the 65th lap.

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Fernando Alonso was forced to retire in Mexico City after suffering an engine failure in his Alpine on the 65th lap.

Fernando Alonso was forced to retire in Mexico City after suffering an engine failure in his Alpine on the 65th lap.

Championship position: 9th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 12-10

There’s life in the old dog yet. In his age 41 season, Fernando Alonso put in several dazzling drives – the comeback in Sao Paulo a particular highlight – with his points tally only really not higher because of bad luck.

Alonso had six retirements in 2022, and in four of those he was well-placed to score more points in the race than team-mate Esteban Ocon. Alonso gets a new challenge at Aston Martin next year on a multi-year contract, and while he may have a difficult, perhaps uncompetitive, car on his hands, don’t be surprised to see him star again.

Lewis Hamilton: 8.5

Max Verstappen held off Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez at the start of the race, while Lewis Hamilton had to take evasive action from Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

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Max Verstappen held off Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez at the start of the race, while Lewis Hamilton had to take evasive action from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Max Verstappen held off Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez at the start of the race, while Lewis Hamilton had to take evasive action from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Championship position: 6th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 13-9

It was Lewis Hamilton’s first Formula 1 season without a win or pole position, and gave him his lowest-ever championship finish. But while with those facts you’d have expected to have seen some sort of decline in Hamilton’s form, the seven-time champion showed there’s plenty left in the tank.

Hamilton had a difficult start to 2022, dealing with the emotion of 2021’s title decider and Mercedes’ underperforming car. But a lot of his defeats to Russell early on were down to him exploring with setups, and plain bad luck with Safety Car timing and the like.

In the final 14 races of the season, Hamilton beat Russell on nine occasions – unfortunately not one of those being Brazil – and still out-qualified him over the year. We also saw glimpses of the title-charging Hamilton of old, with drives in France, the Netherlands and the USA probably worthy of more.

Given how certain drivers have tailed off with a lack of motivation – see Sebastian Vettel, and even Daniel Ricciardo – Hamilton’s perseverance is credible and he insists this year has only spurred him on for the future. Don’t be surprised to see a Lewis fightback.

Charles Leclerc: 9

Race leader Charles Leclerc crashes into the barriers at Turn 11 and is out of the French Grand Prix!

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Race leader Charles Leclerc crashes into the barriers at Turn 11 and is out of the French Grand Prix!

Race leader Charles Leclerc crashes into the barriers at Turn 11 and is out of the French Grand Prix!

Championship position: 2nd
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 15-7

A title challenge may not have been sustained, but Charles Leclerc should take plenty of positives from the best season of his F1 career to date.

Leclerc came into the season off the back of being, somewhat surprisingly, beaten by new team-mate Carlos Sainz in 2021, but there was only Ferrari driver ever in the championship reckoning in 2022 and that was the Monegasque, who is still capable of incredible speed on a Saturday and went toe to toe with Verstappen in many races – his most impressive win coming in Austria.

His title bid faltering was more to do with Ferrari’s pace drop-off and strategic and mechanical failures up against Red Bull, although there were still a few Leclerc errors that have popped up quite a bit in his career. The French GP crash from the lead, for example, was a crushing, and inevitable, blow.

Still, Leclerc has established himself as the bona fide leader of F1’s biggest, and most pressure-filled, team, and has proved he can fight for the title next season.

Lando Norris: 9.5

Naomi Schiff tests Lando Norris' knowledge of the Singapore GP ahead of the first return to the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2019.

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Naomi Schiff tests Lando Norris’ knowledge of the Singapore GP ahead of the first return to the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2019.

Naomi Schiff tests Lando Norris’ knowledge of the Singapore GP ahead of the first return to the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2019.

Championship position: 7th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 19-2

The resurgence of Ferrari and speed of the top six cars may have meant there were less headline results in 2022 for Lando Norris than the year before, but don’t let that fool you – this was Norris’ best season of his career. He just keeps getting better and better.

Norris consistently gets the absolute maximum out of his McLaren, beating both Alpine drivers despite their faster cars while his drives to seventh – he had five in six races in the summer – were essentially the equivalent of consecutive race victories. His season also included a podium in Imola and a marvellous fourth at Singapore while he also, yet again, trounced race-winning team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, so much so that his contract got cancelled.

Norris deserves this rating and, evidently, deserves a race-winning car.

George Russell: 9.5

George Russell wins his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix holding off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win in Sao Paulo.

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George Russell wins his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix holding off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win in Sao Paulo.

George Russell wins his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix holding off Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win in Sao Paulo.

Championship position: 4th
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 9-13

2022 was always going to be a win-win for George Russell. Losing to F1’s most successful driver would be completely understandable in his rookie year at Mercedes, while beating him would be legendary. Russell, showing the makings of a future champion along the way, did the latter.

Russell went from being Mr Saturday at Williams to Mr Consistent at Mercedes as he scored top five-finishes in each of the first nine races of the season, and while after the British GP – when Mercedes found more pace – Hamilton started to beat the youngster, Russell was still the driver to claim the Silver Arrows’ only win of the season with a superb, composed display in Brazil.

The only negative, really, for Russell was the fact that Mercedes were nowhere near their title-contending pace of old. If they were, we may well have been looking at Britain’s newest champion.

Max Verstappen: 10

Relive how Max Verstappen won his second world title, as we look back at some key races from the season.

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Relive how Max Verstappen won his second world title, as we look back at some key races from the season.

Relive how Max Verstappen won his second world title, as we look back at some key races from the season.

Championship position: 1st
Qualifying head to head vs team-mate: 18-4

It’s hard to get more perfect than the most dominant Formula 1 season of all-time.

2022 was the first year Max Verstappen truly had the fastest car on the grid and the Dutchman duly crushed his rivals – with a bigger title-winning margin than Lewis Hamilton has ever managed – and delivered a record 15 victories, all of which while showing different tools in his ever-growing arsenal.

Verstappen had pole-to-flag dominant wins (like Canada, Mexico and Abu Dhabi), wins which required immense wheel-to-wheel skills (like Saudi Arabia, Imola and Miami) and comeback wins (like Hungary, Belgium and Italy). Dare we say it, this Verstappen was Schumacher and Hamilton-esque, and what was even more impressive was that it came after a dreadful start – with two DNFs in the first three races and adaptation struggles with the new cars.

His first crown may have been controversial but this one banished any doubts about Verstappen’s quality. F1, beware, this version of Max will take some stopping.