Formula 1: We are already 9 races into the 2022 Formula 1 season and a lot has changed since last year’s titanic battle for the world championship. Usual favorites and 8 time constructor world champions Mercedes came into this season on the back foot, with their 2022 challenger, the W13, looking uncompetitive compared to its all conquering predecessors, and Ferrari have made the leap to the front of the field. Red Bull have maintained their strong form from 2021 and have so far won 7 out of the 9 races this year.Also Read – Laureus World Sports Awards 2022 Announced: SEE FULL LIST Of Winners
However, the driver lineups have remained relatively similar to last year, with the exception of a few inter team driver switches and the return of Kevin Magussen to the grid, alongside a brand new rookie in Guanyu Zhou. So, let’s take a look at 5 drivers that you should keep an eye on for the remainder of the season. Also Read – Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton Changing His Name to Include Mother’s Surname
The Japanese driver made his Formula 1 debut last year at the Bahrain Grand Prix with Alphatauri, and this year he seems to have turned up the heat with his driving. Throughout his rookie season, he was outperformed by his teammate Pierre Gasly, and struggled to find his stride with the AT02. However, this year has seen a new Yuki Tsunoda get behind the wheel of Italian team’s 2022 challenger, with consistent performances seeing the youngster place ahead of his experienced teammate for a large part of the season so far. His performance in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was truly exceptional, where we saw Tsunoda climb from a disappointing P16 in qualifying, to a respectable P7 in tricky dry-wet conditions. Good job Yuki! Also Read – Formula 1 Confirms Race at Italy’s Imola Circuit Until 2025
The four time world champion’s 2022 campaign got off to a rough start, as he missed the first two races due to him testing positive for COVID-19. His first race back was Australia, and a lack of experience with Aston Martin’s 2022 challenger led to a scruffy weekend by him, where he crashed out during the race. However, since the Australian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel has been on form, by reaching Q3 thrice in 2022, scoring points on all three of those occasions and has been exhibiting great race pace in every race so far, all in debatably the ninth fastest car on the grid. Vettel has been miles ahead of his teammate Lance Stroll in nearly every race this season, and has reminded everyone of his talent, amid rumors of his retirement. Aston Martin are expected to bring significant upgrades to the next race in Silverstone, and there were already positive signs of improvement of the Aston Martin package in the latest Canadian Grand Prix. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on the 4 time world champion, as he might just surprise the grid in the next few months.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso
Well, including the two Alpine drivers in third place on this list makes it six drivers to look out for, not five, but the dynamic Alpine duo have been on the pace this season. Esteban Ocon’s consistency this season has been phenomenal, and has seen him jump to 9th in the drivers championship, more than 20 points clear of 10th place. Ocon proved his doubters wrong last season, when he won the Hungarian Grand Prix and fended off a chasing Sebastian Vettel to clinch the win, and is definitely a driver to look out for this season. Coincidentally, Alonso trails Ocon in 10th place, but a lot of that point deficit is due to terrible luck for Alonso. A mega qualifying lap at Australia which would have seen him qualify in P4 was ruined by a mechanical failure during the lap which sent Alonso into the wall. He was running in P6 in Saudi Arabia until a mechanical failure ended his race prematurely, and he was hit by Mick Schumacher in Imola, which led to him retiring from the race due to the damage sustained from the crash. However, he showed his brilliance at a rain soaked Canadian Grand Prix as he put his Alpine onto the front row of the grid during qualifying, and incredible feat by the 40 year old. It seems like the only thing stopping Fernando Alonso from showing his true potential is his bad luck, as he was compromised by bad strategy and an engine issue on race day in Canada. Both Alpine drivers could pull off magnificent performances, but, as Ron Dennis said – “To finish first, first you have to finish”
Perez started the 2022 season off of a successful 2021 campaign with Red Bull racing, and has felt more at ease with this year’s RB18. His qualifying pace has always been one of his weaker points as a driver, but this year he has been matching his World Champion teammate Max Verstappen on both qualifying and race pace, and has been quite the surprise this season. His pole position in Saudi Arabia and win in Monaco has given him the momentum and confidence to challenge for wins regularly. It is always good to see Sergio “Checo” Perez in the midst of the front runners, and this year he seems to have made it routine!
He was known as Mr. Saturday in 2021, but has since been rebranded as Mr. Consistent in 2022, as George Russell has finished every race this year in the top 5, in a Mercedes that his 7 time world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton has labeled “undrivable” on multiple occasions. Russell moved from backmarker team Williams to reigning constructor world champions Mercedes this year, and has been on the pace ever since the season kicked off in Bahrain. He currently sits 4th in the Drivers championship and is just a few points shy of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. He has had the upper hand on his teammate Hamilton throughout the season thus far, and its not advisable to bet against a potential win this season for the rapid Englishman.