F1' all-new era kicked off in 2022, with overhauled technical regulations that led to closer racing, more overtaking and plenty of drama. But which drivers hit the ground running when the new cars hit the track? It’s time for an all-in-one comparison of this year’s team mates...
First, some ground rules for our scoring:
Final grid slots have been used to determine the qualifying battle outcome
Final grid positions are counted for ‘Highest Grid Position’, not the initial order from qualifying
Mechanical failures and/or collisions that are registered as classified finishes have been counted as DNFs here
Max Verstappen was credited by Red Bull chiefs for stepping it up another gear as he charged to a second world championship, having taken an incredible 15 wins and 17 podium finishes from the 22 races staged across the globe in 2022.
When compared to team mate Sergio Perez, that meant 13 more victories and six more podiums for the most dominant intra-team race day head-to-head of the season – only heightened by the margin of 149 points between them. It was a similar story in qualifying (18 to four for Verstappen).
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While Perez consistently racked up solid points, Verstappen’s relentless winning ways (after two costly DNFs early in the season) did the damage, with the Dutchman finishing no more than two races in a row off the top step and triumphing in nine of the last 11 Grands Prix.
Charles Leclerc was the king of qualifying in 2022 as he bagged nine pole positions at the wheel of Ferrari’s undeniably fast F1-75, two clear of double champion Verstappen and six ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz.
Unfortunately for the Scuderia, this underlying pace often went missing on race day through strategic blunders, reliability issues and driver mistakes – Sainz suffering a record-equalling six retirements, and two from the first four races.
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Qualifying aside, it was a closer affair between Leclerc and Sainz in race trim: 12 to nine in the Monegasque’s favour overall, alongside three wins to one and 11 podiums to nine. However, with 62 more points, Leclerc secured a career-best P2 in the drivers’ standings, while Sainz had to settle for P5.
Of the top three teams in the constructors’ standings, the intra-team battle at Mercedes was the closest of them all, with little to separate seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and new arrival George Russell.
In qualifying, and after some early-season experiments, Hamilton found the edge to end the campaign with a record of 13 to nine, while Russell took race days 12 to 10. It was similarly tight in terms of podiums (Hamilton winning out nine to eight).
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However, as for the outright best results achieved, Russell made the headlines with the team’s only pole position and victory of the season, while becoming just the third driver – after world champions Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg – to out-score Hamilton as an F1 team mate over the course of a season.
Another tight team mate scrap – and one that boiled over towards the end of the season with a pair of dramatic clashes during the F1 Sprint in Sao Paulo – involved Alpine pair Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
But there was an important side note come the final chequered flag of 2022 in Abu Dhabi, with Alonso – like Sainz – suffering six DNFs (five due to technical problems and one due to collision damage).
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As such, while Alonso narrowly led the way in the qualifying charts, with laps like his stunning run to a spot on the front row of the grid amid mixed conditions in Canada, it was Ocon who topped the main race day metrics.
Lando Norris delivered the most dominant intra-team qualifying head-to-head record in 2022 with a score of 20 to two over Daniel Ricciardo, who leaves McLaren this winter to take up a reserve role at former team Red Bull.
Whether it was a case of Norris excelling, Ricciardo struggling or a bit of both, the young Briton also stamped his authority on race days, finishing ahead 16 to five and scoring 85 more points.
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In another plus point for Norris, he was the only non Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes driver to bag a podium over the course of the 22-race season – following Verstappen and Perez home at Imola.
Alfa Romeo were one of the surprise packages at the start of F1’s rules reset as their trim C42 hit the ground running; Zhou Guanyu scoring on his Grand Prix debut and Valtteri Bottas taking points from seven of the first nine races.
However, midfield rivals caught up as the development war kicked in and intermittent reliability problems contributed to both drivers enduring six DNFs each – Zhou’s tally including his frightening first-corner crash at Silverstone.
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As the campaign drew to a close, Bottas’s early-season scoring proved decisive in the Alfa team mate fight as he comfortably led Zhou in all areas, but the Chinese driver nonetheless helped the squad get over the line for P6 in the constructors’.
While by his own lofty standards there were few on-track highlights for Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, the German still took plenty of positives from his two-year spell with the team – which he ended clear of team mate Lance Stroll on the scoreboard.
It’s easy to forget that Vettel missed the first two races of the 2022 season with COVID-19, but when he returned to the cockpit and built some momentum, the four-time champion outscored Stroll by 37 points to 18 (the majority coming after his retirement announcement).
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Vettel also led the way in terms of outright qualifying (13 to seven) and race day (10 to nine) records, though the Aston Martin pair were equal in terms of the best result they achieved: sixth position.
Kevin Magnussen was another driver with a dominant head-to-head qualifying record in 2022, getting the better of Mick Schumacher 16 times to six – spearheaded by his stunning pole position in Sao Paulo.
Across a season that included several costly crashes for Schumacher, it was Magnussen who scored the bulk of Haas’s points (25 to 12) and their best overall finish (a spectacular P5 in his comeback race at the Bahrain opener).
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Schumacher actually held a slightly better race day record (12 to nine), with Magnussen suffering five DNFs, but it was not enough for the German to keep his place in 2023, as he steps aside for Nico Hulkenberg.
Pierre Gasly signed off from AlphaTauri with a qualifying and race day clean sweep over the developing Yuki Tsunoda, as he prepares for a new chapter outside of the Red Bull family with French manufacturer Alpine.
But despite boasting almost double the points (23 to 12), and winning out 15 to seven in the races, Gasly believes a calmer and more methodical Tsunoda “improved massively” in his second season – something their much closer 13 to nine outright qualifying head-to-head supports.
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Tsunoda’s efforts were also hampered by being in the group of five drivers to experience six DNFs during the campaign (including a failure before the start in Saudi Arabia) – twice as many as the outgoing Gasly.
Alongside Verstappen and Norris, Alex Albon put in a particularly commanding all-round intra-team performance as he returned to F1 with Williams after a year on the sidelines in a Red Bull reserve role.
Taking up the seat alongside Nicholas Latifi that had been vacated by Russell, Albon beat the Canadian 19 to two in qualifying and 15 to four on race days – scoring points in Australia, Miami and Belgium.
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An unwell Albon also missed out on a prime opportunity to strengthen his points tally at the Italian Grand Prix, with the Williams package better suited to the low-downforce Monza layout, where stand-in Nyck de Vries out-qualified and out-raced Latifi for a P9 finish.