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These drivers won Formula 1's most important duel in 2022

These drivers won Formula 1's most important duel in 2022

25 November - 08:35
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GPblog.com

The Formula 1 season is over and so it is time to take stock. GPblog keeps annual statistics of the internal duels within the team and so, after this year is over, it is possible to analyse which teams' duels were really exciting and which teams might require a change. After all, there is only one driver with whom you can really be compared and that is your teammate in the same car.

Red Bull Racing

Verstappen   Perez
15 Race duel 3
454 Points 305
18 Qualifying match 4
-0.309s Average difference in qualifying +0.309s

Over the whole season, Sergio Perez has offered more resistance in 2022 than in 2021. Max Verstappen is still clearly the leader given his wins in all duels, but Perez finished ahead of his teammate in more races and qualifying in 2022 than he did last year. The average difference in qualifying has also narrowed (0.433s in 2021) and the difference in points this year is also smaller than in 2021 (when the gap was over 200 points). So Red Bull seems to have found a good duo. One clear leader and one good second driver, although Red Bull will hope that Perez manages to close the gap a little further in 2023, because for good measure it is still just a little too big.

Ferrari

Leclerc   Sainz
10 Race duel 7
308 Points 246
15 Qualifying match 7
-0.092s Avg. difference in qualifying +0.092s

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are close together again in 2022. Leclerc scores better than Sainz in all areas this year, but the difference is not great. For the Spaniard, though, it is annoying to note that he has lost ground to Leclerc in his second season for Ferrari. In 2021, for instance, he still scored more points than his rival, the qualifying duel was more exciting (13-9 in Leclerc's favour) and the average difference in qualifying was also just slightly smaller (0.055s). In a year when Ferrari had a good car, especially at the beginning of the season, that is not the best time for Sainz to slack off a bit. Still, Ferrari can be happy with their line-up, as you hardly find a duo closer together in F1.

Mercedes

Hamilton   Russell
10 Race duel 10
240 Points 275
13 Qualifying match 9
-0.037s Average difference in qualifying +0.037s

For Mercedes, it was interesting to see how the switch from Valtteri Bottas to George Russell would go. Lewis Hamilton had an ideal second driver alongside him in recent years with Bottas, but was joined by an ambitious young compatriot in 2022. The figures also show that Hamilton had a much tougher time in 2022 than in recent seasons. The race duel ends in a tie, in points Russell wins, the qualifying duel is for Hamilton and who also has a small margin on average on Saturday. These are different figures than we saw with the Hamilton/Bottas duo and the main question is how things will go between these drivers when it really comes to the world title. The question is whether having two drivers so close together will be so useful then.

Alpine

Alonso   Ocon
8 Race duel 8
81 Points 92
12 Qualifying match 10
-0.108s Avg. difference in qualifying +0.108s

Despite the points suggesting that Esteban Ocon has taken a nice step forward from 2021, the underlying figures show otherwise. In 2021, the two still finished equal in the qualifying duel, where Alonso manages to win that battle in his old age in 2022. Add to that how much bad luck Alonso has had and you wonder if Alpine has not offered the wrong driver a multi-year deal through 2024. Alonso may be old, but in his second year at Alpine he showed he is still among the best drivers in F1.

McLaren

Norris   Ricciardo
15 Race duel 4
122 Points 37
20 Qualifying match 2
-0.344s Average difference in qualifying +0.344s

The gap between Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris was widening by 2022, so it is no surprise that McLaren is parting ways with the Australian. Ricciardo is not a small amount of money in the budget and when you then have to leave such a gap compared to your younger teammate, it is painful. It is also probably incomprehensible to Ricciardo himself that the gap widened even more in 2022 than it already was in 2021. He scored fewer points this year, finished ahead of his teammate in fewer races and qualifying, and saw the average difference on Saturday increase from 0.192s to 0.344s in 2022. It will be interesting to see how Oscar Piastri compares to the talented Briton in 2023.

Alfa Romeo

Bottas   Zhou
9 Race duel 3
49 Points 6
14 Qualifying match 7
-0.526s Average difference in qualifying +0.526s

For 2022, Alfa Romeo appointed two new drivers with a clear division of roles, and that division of roles is reflected in the numbers. Valtteri Bottas has not been faultless this year, but over a full season he has shown that he is a man who can lead a team in the middle ground. Especially with his qualifications, Guanyu Zhou has had a very difficult time this year. In the latter stages of the season, the Chinese driver got closer and closer, but the gap over an entire season is simply too big.

Aston Martin

Vettel   Stroll
9 Race duel 8
37 Points 18
13 Qualifying match 7
-0.146s Average difference in qualifying +0.146s

In his final year in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel proved on several occasions why he is a four-time world champion and over a full season he has had no child to his teammate. Lance Stroll may have been in this team for a while, but you certainly can't call him a leader. Compared to last year, the difference has only widened. Back then, Stroll finished even more races ahead of Vettel than the other way around, and on Saturday the average difference was only 0.072s in favour of the German.

Haas

Magnussen   Schumacher
7 Race duel 8
25 Points 12
16 Qualifying match 6
-0.218s Average difference in qualifying +0.218s

With the departure of Nikita Mazepin, Haas still had a new line-up for 2022 with the return of Kevin Magnussen. That return proved worth its weight in gold, as where Mick Schumacher struggled with the car in his second F1 season and could be caught off guard on several occasions, Magnussen's experience certainly paid off early in the season. The Dane scored good points early in the season and would even grab a spectacular pole in Brazil. Over a full season, the Dane, who had been out of the sport for a year, appeared not to have lost his speed either, beating Schumacher on almost every statistic.

AlphaTauri

Gasly   Tsunoda
9 Race duel 5
23 Points 12
13 Qualifying match 9
-0.082s Average difference in qualifying +0.082s

Whereas Pierre Gasly was still firmly holding the reins at AlphaTauri in 2021, Yuki Tsunoda has made things a lot harder for him in 2022. The Frenchman still wins all duels over a full season, but in all areas Tsunoda is much closer in his second F1 season. With that, the Japanese driver looks set to carry Red Bull's training team himself as Gasly leaves for Alpine. With Nyck de Vries comes a new challenger to Tsunoda and he will have to beat them if he is to have any chance of promotion.

Williams

Albon   Latifi
14 Race duel 1
4 Points 2
19 Qualifying match 2
-0.526s Average difference in qualifying +0.526s

Williams are finally saying goodbye to Nicholas Latifi after three years. Every year, the Canadian was beaten by his teammate without a chance and 2022 is no different. Alexander Albon, who returned to the sport after a year on the sidelines at Red Bull, showed his teammate that it was not just George Russell who was much faster. It is good that Williams is opting for another driver, although one has to wonder whether the number four in the Formula 2 championship is then necessarily the very best and fastest choice.

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