The Formula 1 paddock moved to Abu Dhabi for the last race of the season. In 2021 this was the place where the title got decided, this year the most exciting battle was between Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez for second place in the driver championship.
Verstappen makes it 3 in a row
On Saturday Max Verstappen scored his 3rd pole position in Abu Dhabi in a row. Verstappen started the race great and wouldn’t be challenged during the race. After 1 hour, 27 minutes and 45 seconds he crossed the line first to also score his 3rd win in a row at the Yas Marina Circuit. It was a perfect end for an almost perfect season for the Dutchman. His second world championship was his most dominant season so far. Some numbers:
- 15 wins*
- 454 points*
- 7 pole positions
- 17 podiums
- 5 fastest laps
- 616 laps in the lead
Leclerc and Ferrari 2nd in world championships
After the Brazilian Grand Prix both Leclerc and Pérez had a total of 290 points, so the second place in the championship would be decided during the last Grand Prix of the year. With both Red Bull drivers being faster than the Ferrari’s on Saturday, Sergio Pérez was the favorite to finish second in the championship. In the beginning of the race, Sergio was still in front of Charles but in the end the one stop strategy had the upper hand over the two stop strategy of the driver from Mexico.
At the last race of the season Mercedes had still a small chance to finish second in the constructor world championship, but they needed to outscore Ferrari by at least 20 points. After qualifying it was already clear that something had to be done for Mercedes to finish ahead of Ferrari. Ferrari finished 2nd and 4th and Mercedes only finished the race with Russell on p5, so Ferrari had more than enough points to finish 2nd in the championship.
First season for Hamilton without a win
Now the 2022 season is over we can look back at the stats. 2022 is the first season Lewis Hamilton was not able to win a race or to score a pole position. Until this year, the worst season Hamilton had was his first year at Mercedes, 2013. In that year Hamilton won 1 race and was fastest during qualifying on 5 occasions. Based on the number of podiums it wasn’t Lewis’ worst year. This season he was on the podium 9 times. For a complete year to year overview of his career, click on the link below:
Saying goodbye to 4 drivers
The end of the season usually means some drivers will not return to the grid next year and this year is no exception. The first one is Nicholas Latifi, driver for Williams for the last 3 years. It wasn’t a real success and that’s probably the reason he will not be driving a F1 car next year. 2021 was his best season, where he was able to score a total of 7 points. Latifi will be replaced by Logan Sargent, who was driving in F2 this year.
The next driver who won’t return next year is Mick Schumacher, son of Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher. Mick drove the last 2 years for Haas and is named as a test driver for Mercedes next year. As a replacement Haas has attracted his compatriot Nico Hülkenberg.
Daniel Ricciardo driving for McLaren this season is the third driver without a seat for next year. The driver from Australia began his career driving for HRT in 2011. In 2012 and 2013 he drove for Toro Rosso, where he showed himself so he was promoted to Red Bull in 2014. He drove for the Austrian team for 5 seasons. The last 4 years he was a driver for Renault and McLaren. In total Ricciardo won 8 races, scored 3 pole positions and was on the podium 32 times. He’ll probably join Red Bull as a third driver for the 2023 season. Just like Latifi, Ricciardo will be replaced by a rookie; namely Oscar Piastri.
The biggest name we'll have to miss next season is Sebastian Vettel. The 4 time world champion has been on the grid since 2007. Vettel has been driving for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin. Vettel won 53 races in his career, for 3 different teams with the most special one his win in 2008 for Toro Rosso. He entered a total of 300 races, from which he finished 122 on the podium. Sebastian will be replaced by another legend, Fernando Alonso who will enter his 20th season next year.