HEAD-TO-HEAD: How do the F1 team mates stack up against each other at the summer break?
Thirteen rounds into the 2022 season and we've seen 20 drivers show what they can do in this new era of F1 machinery, but how are the intra-team qualifying and race battles going? As F1 enters the summer shutdown, let's take a look at how the team mates compare after the Hungarian Grand Prix...
But first, some ground rules for our scoring:
Final grid slots have been used to determine the qualifying battle outcome
A double non-finish for a team results in no score for both drivers. If one driver from a team finishes when the other does not, it's an automatic point
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 has been nothing short of dominant with eight victories and an 80-point lead in the standings after winning the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix. Team mate Sergio Perez has one victory (in Monaco) and one pole position (Saudi Arabia) to his name after 13 rounds, and Perez is 85 points behind Verstappen in the championship. Both have suffered DNFs, Verstappen’s coming early on in Bahrain and Australia; Perez’s in Bahrain, Canada and Austria.
Although Perez has been consistent, finishing fifth or better (excluding DNFs) in every race so far, Verstappen has gone no more than two consecutive weekends without taking a victory – and he won both Sprints.
Charles Leclerc is second in the standings and Carlos Sainz is fifth, but the pair are split by just 22 points. It’s not been so close in the qualifying stakes where Leclerc has taken seven of 13 pole positions, most recently in France, while team mate Sainz took pole in Silverstone, the scene of his maiden victory. Meanwhile, Leclerc has taken three wins – in Bahrain, Australia and Austria.
Reliability troubles have hit both drivers: Sainz has four DNFs and Leclerc three. Furthermore, Leclerc’s three DNFs (in Spain, at Baku and in France) came from pole position. That goes some way to telling the story of Ferrari’s season so far…
Despite George Russell clinching top-five finishes in every weekend bar Great Britain (DNF), the Briton is only 12 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton – who has managed a run of five consecutive podiums after a rocky start to 2022 that included P10 in Saudi Arabia and P13 at Imola.
Furthermore, Hamilton has out-raced Russell in the previous five weekends and the pair are almost neck-and-neck in the race and qualifying stakes. Mercedes have also been hot on reliability, that Silverstone crash the only time either driver has failed to finish.
That sterling consistency from both drivers has helped the Silver Arrows close to within 30 points of Ferrari in the constructors’ stakes.
Seventeen points split 10th-placed driver Fernando Alonso and eighth-placed Esteban Ocon, Alpine having scored in every round bar the Sprint weekend at Imola.
Alonso has had the edge over Ocon on Saturdays, even qualifying second in the wet in Canada, but Ocon has taken more points with just one DNF (at Silverstone) and a worst of P14 at Imola. As for the two-time champion, he suffered two DNFs, a P17 and P11 finish in his first five weekends of 2022 – before pulling off an eight-straight scoring streak from Spain to Hungary.
Both Alpine drivers have taken a top-five finish this season but can they land a podium – or even another victory?
Only Perez and Verstappen have a larger intra-team margin than Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, with the former 57 points ahead of the latter. Norris, the only driver outside the top six in the drivers’ standings to take a podium (delivered at Imola) in 2022, has finished in the points on 10 occasions this season while Ricciardo has scored points on five weekends.
Norris has out-qualified his team mate 11-2 so far as well, only the Haas and Williams pairs separated by such a margin in the qualifying stakes. However, Ricciardo has enjoyed a best finish and qualifying spot of P6, and he’ll be hoping for more of that from Belgium onwards.
Rookie Zhou Guanyu has suffered the most DNFs this season – which goes some way to explaining why he's been out-raced more than any other driver on the grid so far, and why team mate Valtteri Bottas has taken more than 90% of Alfa Romeo’s points so far with only Williams’ Alex Albon having taken a higher proportion of his team’s points in 2022.
Zhou has finished with a best of P8 behind Bottas in Canada, where Alfa Romeo took their last points score.
Bottas’s three DNFs and reliability-hampered weekends haven’t helped him fully fulfil the C42's potential and the Finn’s best finish of P5 came way back at Imola.
After failing to score points for the first nine rounds of 2022 – and a qualifying crash seeing him sit out the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Mick Schumacher managed P8 in Britain (from P19 on the grid) and P6 in Austria.
Team mate Kevin Magnussen also enjoyed solid results with P10 at Silverstone and P8 in Austria but his start to the season was far stronger, with a best of P5 in Bahrain plus points at Jeddah and Imola. Both drivers have therefore scored healthily, but DNFs have held them back as Magnussen has suffered four to Schumacher’s two.
Will those Hungary upgrades yield results in the second half of this season?
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda have been pretty evenly matched this season, though Gasly has out-raced and out-qualified his Japanese team mate 8-5 and outscored him by five points after 13 rounds.
The high point for Tsunoda was his P7 finish at Imola, while Gasly took a season-best P5 for the team in Azerbaijan, but since then, AlphaTauri have suffered three DNFs and failed to score for the last five weekends – despite major upgrades brought to the French Grand Prix.
While it didn’t yield a DNF, Tsunoda also collided with Gasly at Silverstone – the team having fallen behind Haas since then.
It’s close at Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel leading his team mate Lance Stroll 6-5 in race finishes (the four-time champion having missed the first two races with Nico Hulkenberg stepping in) but Vettel has scored 16 of Aston Martin’s 20 points, Stroll the other four. The pair have also gone wheel-to-wheel in recent weeks, providing some great late-race excitement.
However, Vettel has the run of Stroll when it comes to qualifying and the team’s best result of P6 in Azerbaijan. The team have also been fairly solid on race reliability – Vettel hit with DNFs in Australia and Miami while Stroll took one in Azerbaijan.
Points have been hard to come by, however, with Stroll finishing no better than P10 on four occasions so far.
Williams have three points so far, all three of them delivered by Alex Albon, who has out-raced Nicholas Latifi 10-3 so far this season.
Worth noting also is the fact that Albon’s two points scores came in the first five races – he scored in Australia with P10 and then managed P9 in Miami – and since then the team have been on a barren run. Though they brought upgrades to Silverstone, Williams haven’t yet been able to catch up to the midfield fight.