Welcome to the final chapter of Knupsports.com’s 2022 Formula 1 season coverage. We’ve divided the season into four sections and reviewed the highs from each quarter that eventually, Max Verstappen and Red Bull dominated, winning the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships. With many technical upgrades, twenty-two drivers lining up for a Grand Prix start, and many overtakes, we can’t get into everything from the 2022 Formula 1 season.
So with that and without further ado, it’s lights out, and away we go for our final flying lap and the quickest 2022 Formula 1 season review we can manage.
Part 1: Remember When Ferrari Were the World Champions?
Rember when Ferrari was the favorite after winter testing to be the World Champions? Yes, the season was only three races old, but the Formula 1 world was buzzing that Ferrari was back, Red Bull struggled with reliability, and the Mercedes W-13 was bouncing and very draggy.
Oh, how things changed. By the end of the season’s first five races – Bahrain to Miami Grand Prix – Red Bull emerged as the true favorite, with Max Verstappen winning three of the first five races. A couple of patterns appeared early and persisted throughout the season as Ferrari was the quickest over one lap, and George Russell bounced his Mercedes into the top six.
Three highlights from the season’s first quarter: the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Sergio Pérez’s first pole position on the fast and dangerous Jeddah Corniche Circuit (Saudi Arabian Grand Prix), and Max Verstappen’s sublimely excellent performance at Imola (the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix).
Part 2: Knupsports.com Join the Formula 1 World!
It’s hard to divide a twenty-two race season equally into quarters, so we decided to start part two of the Formula 1 season with Knupsorts.com’s debut in the Formula 1 world. The first race weekend I covered was the Spanish Grand Prix, where we questioned if Mercedes had finally figured out their problematic W-13, as Max Verstappen and Red Bull got the strategy and team orders right to get Max the win at Catalunya. Red Bull also masterfully trolled Aston Martin’s very similar, but ultimately legal, upgrade package to the RB-18, stocking the paddock and pit wall with green Red Bulls.
A wet Monaco race highlights many people’s second quarter of the 2022 Formula 1 season, which stretched from the Spanish Grand Prix to the Austrian Grand Prix. Our highlights include the always-wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz’s first win and Lewis Hamilton’s masterful performance at Silverstone (British Grand Prix), and Ferrari’s mixed weekend in Austria – where Charles Leclerc won the race. At the same time, Sainz’s F1-75 suffered a turbo-charger-related failure.
Notably, Carlos Sainz’s victory at Silverstone ended Red Bull’s six-Grand Prix winning streak. At the halfway mark of the season, we had three drivers fighting for the World Champion, and Ferrari potentially bringing the fight to Red Bull in the second half of the season.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull quickly stopped those ideas and drove off into the distance.
Part Three: The Max Verstappen Show Takes over in Europe
Part three of the 2022 Formula 1 season is a part of the European leg of the calendar and features three legendary F1 circuits: Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, and the Hungaroring.
The French Grand Prix is where Charles Leclerc lost the Drivers’ World Championship. While not a fatal blow, Leclerc’s error at Circuit Paul Ricard was where we had enough evidence from Ferarri that they were not the World Championship contenders we thought they were or they felt they could be. Despite capturing three of five pole positions from the French Grand Prix to the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari wouldn’t win any of those races as the performance edge started tipping toward Red Bull.
Max Verstappen won all five Grand Prix during the third leg of the 2022 Formula 1 Season cruising into the final quarter of the 2022 Formula 1 season with his fingertips on a second consecutive Drivers’ World Championship.
Verstappen’s wins from deep down the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix and Red Bull’s dominant 1-2 performance at Spa-Francorchamps and the Belgian Grand Prix are the clear highlights from the third quarter of the Formula 1 season.
As for George Russell and Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton was coming on strong and matching Russell’s pace after spending the first part of the year working from inside the cockpit to help Mercedes remedy the W-13’s woes. Russell continued his season-long pattern of finishing in the top six while grabbing his first pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix: the first of three firsts on the year for Russell.
Part 4: The Fly-Aways and Firsts – The Final Dash to the Start/Finish Line.
The season’s final quarter was filled with fly-away races in Asia and the Americas before everyone descended on Abu Dhabi for the last Grand Prix and post-season testing.
Sergio Pérez proved he’s pretty excellent on street tracks, adding the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix to wins at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix and 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix to a history of strong qualifying and podium-grabbing performances. Pérez’s win in Singapore continued Red Bull’s winning streak, ultimately ending at nine races.
While rain and a scary incident involving Pierre Gasly and a recovery crane may have dampened Formula 1’s return to Japan for some, Sebastian Vettel put on a masterful performance in the midfield chasing Fernando Alonso in a razor-close finish like it was 2011 all over again. With Suzuka being a well-loved circuit by most motorsports enthusiasts of any category – a personal favorite of this writer’s – Seb’s performance, alongside Verstappen crushing everyone in the wet conditions, made for a personal highlight.
Verstappen went on to win both the Mexico City and the United States Grand Prix, which is always a joy for North American Formula 1 fans as Circuit of the Americas is a proper race circuit and worthy of being called America’s home for Formula 1.
However, the highlight of the final quarter of the season was the Brazilian Grand Prix. Interlagos is one of the best circuits for racing on the Formula 1 schedule and we got nothing but firsts during the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix.
Haas and Kevin Magnussen, yes, THAT Haas team – the ultimate backmarker, coming off one of the worst full seasons in Formula 1 history and Drive to Survive darlings – did the unthinkable: they out strategize everyone and took POLE POSITION for the São Paulo Grand Prix weekend.
The other firsts? George Russell eventually took first place and the win in the São Paulo Sprint Race and then proceeded to win his first Grand Prix, giving Mercedes their well-earned first victory of the season. However, this was the first season where Lewis Hamilton did not win a race or score a pole position in his career, albeit due to the W-13’s issues and not Hamilton’s performance.
Ferrari did get redemption at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as they got the strategy right and kept Charles Leclerc in front of Sergio Pérez for second in the race and the Drivers’ Championship. Nonetheless, Max Verstappen closed out a record-setting season with his fifteenth Grand Prix victory in Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull won seventeen of twenty-two races, absolutely demolished everyone, having the fastest car overall at the end of the season, and secured both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships.
And With That, We Bid You Adieu
Formula 1 fans, I cannot tell you that covering the 2022 Formula 1 season has been my utmost privilege, joy and has been a major positive in my professional life. For those of you who have followed along and read our coverage of the 2022 Formula 1 season, thank you very much, and we’ll hopefully be back to break down winter testing and get you prepared for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
If we do reconvene here at Knupsports.com, I cannot wait to cover the upcoming Formula 1 season, and, yes, we will pick up the story of the Wiley ‘Ol Campaigner as he moves into “the Green Car.”
Hopefully, we’ll be back and will see y’all for Winter testing at the end of February in 2023.
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