Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. I have been summoned to the high chair to look back on the predictions I made for the 2022 season. There’s bound to be a few surprising bullseyes, but a far greater number of boo-boos.
Let’s start by looking at my Drivers’ Standings:
Carlos Sainz Jr. didn’t win the Championship
In fact, he ended up just fifth in the final Standings. He was even beaten by Mercedes driver George Russell; it’s safe to say the Spaniard underperformed in his unreliable Italian stallion.
Just a single race win to his name, at the exciting British Grand Prix, was far from what I expected of him over the course of the campaign. He struggled to find his feet early on in the season, when the F1-75 was at its peak. Therefore, by the time he got the hang of the Ferrari even Mercedes were nipping at the Italian outfit’s heels.
So, who won the Championship instead? A certain Dutchman, who won the 2021 edition of course. Albeit this time Max Verstappen won in a slightly more commanding (and less controversial) fashion. A record number of wins in a year, a 146-point gap to second; in other words it was utter domination by the now two-time World Champion.
I predicted Verstappen to finish second in the Standings; i recognised his immense talent but thought the Red Bull wouldn’t be able to carry him to ultimate glory. I was wrong. The genius of the Dutch driver carried him to victories which were far from assured, even as Charles Leclerc continued to bang out pole positions and the Ferrari was still superior to the RB18.
Who was I most off for?
Daniel Ricciardo. For some odd reason I thought he would finish sixth, when in fact he slumped to 11th on just 37 points. I even put him ahead of teammate Lando Norris, silly me. Why would a washed driver with ever-diminishing passion for the sport finish ahead of an eager youngster who has had his car developed around his preferences?
Ricciardo wins the award for most disappointing driver of 2022, despite many fans not expecting much of him anyway.
The Biggest and Bestest Surprise
According to my predictions I ought to be most surprised by Sergio Perez this year. Finishing just behind Leclerc for third, he did a lot better than the seventh I had put down for him after pre-season testing.
To be honest, I don’t actually remember why I expected him to do so bad in 2022. I think it was a mixture of two things: thinking Mercedes would challenge the Ferraris and Red Bulls and expecting both Hamilton and Russell to therefore outscore the Mexican driver. But putting Danny Ric ahead of Perez? I have no words for myself.
Ferrari didn’t win the Constructors’
Like many of us after pre-season testing, I expected Ferrari to triumph in the Constructors’ Championship to bring an end to the Mercedes hybrid-era dominance. In the end, it was another team which usurped Mercedes to the crown. Ferrari managed to disappoint us yet again.
The Scuderia had managed to figure out the new rules first, and didn’t suffer any of the reliability issues that plagued Red Bull and other teams in the first couple of rounds. But it didn’t take long for the circumstances to completely switch. Ferrari engines started to explode, and Red Bull sorted out their early season gripes. From mid-season onwards, it was plain-sailing for the late Dietrich Mateschitz’ team. Red Bull cruised to their first Constructors’ Title since 2013.
Credit where credit is due, Ferrari did have a fast car. They got more pole positions than Red Bull but their race pace and occasional poor strategy and racecraft let them down. Mercedes on the other hand were far from fast. Their issues with porpoising plagued them for much of the year, and they were decisively the third-best team for all but a few rounds towards the end.
Another Italian outfit disappointed me this year: Alpha Tauri. I predicted a fifth place finish in the Standings, only for them to end up ninth behind the likes of Haas and Aston Martin. A real downturn in results following an impressive 2020 and 2021. Even the mastery of Pierre Gasly was unable to bring out consistent points finishes in the AT03.
Alfa Romeo had a bit of a strange season. It started so well for them; Valtteri Bottas alone scoring 46 points in the opening nine rounds of the campaign. But the Alfa started to drop down the order as the season progressed, with reliability hampering their ability to secure regular points. They only scored a further 4 points in the remaining 13 races.
Predicted 2022 Drivers’ Standings
|1||Carlos Sainz Jr. -4||11||Esteban Ocon +3|
|2||Max Verstappen +1||12||Fernando Alonso +3|
|3||Charles Leclerc +1||13||Yuki Tsunoda -4|
|4||Lewis Hamilton -2||14||Kevin Magnussen -1|
|5||George Russell +1||15||Sebastian Vettel +3|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo -5||16||Alexander Albon -3|
|7||Sergio Perez +4||17||Mick Schumacher +1|
|8||Lando Norris +1||18||Lance Stroll +3|
|9||Pierre Gasly -5||19||Nicholas Latifi -1|
|10||Valtteri Bottas 0||20||Guanyu Zhou +2|
Predicted 2022 Constructors’ Standings
|1||Ferrari -1||6||Alpine +2|
|2||Red Bull +1||7||Alfa Romeo -1|
|3||Mercedes 0||8||Haas 0|
|4||McLaren -1||9||Aston Martin +2|
|5||Alpha Tauri -4||10||Williams 0|
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